SPORTS HEADLINES

Soccer: Decatur fends off Mineral Wells

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, March 31, 2018
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To the Victors

TO THE VICTORS – The Decatur Eagles celebrate their 3-2 victory over Mineral Wells in the Class 4A Region I bi-district match Thursday. Decatur will move on to play Pampa in the area round. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Freshman Andres Hernandez did not waste much time bursting onto the playoff scene Thursday night.

Just 10 minutes into Decatur’s 4A Region I bi-district match with Mineral Wells, Hernandez buried a rebound inside the box for the Eagles’ first goal of the game. Three minutes before halftime, Hernandez finished another scoring chance to give Decatur a 3-0 lead at the intermission.

After surrendering two late second-half goals, the Eagles held on for a 3-2 victory over the Rams Thursday night at Wichita Falls’ Memorial Stadium. Decatur moves on to play Pampa in the area round for the second straight year. A time and location for the match has yet to be determined.

“I just wanted us to close the deal,” said Decatur coach Christopher Benjamin. “We played great the first half. We knew they would play great the second half. We just needed to finish the game. They made a game of it. They found a goal twice and pressured us the whole second half.”

Daniel Inguanzo scored the Eagles’ second goal on a throw-in in the 25th minute. Inguanzo held off a defender and dribbled the ball into the box, rocketing a shot from a tough angle into the roof of the goal.

“I saw the goalie go right, so I saw some space between the pole and the goalie. It was just luck,” Inguanzo said. “I closed my eyes and shot it.”

After Hernandez’ second goal in the 37th minute, Decatur was held scoreless for the remainder of the match.

Mineral Wells scored its first goal of the game in the 69th minute on a breakaway. Decatur keeper Juan Patino made a diving attempt to save the shot, but it rolled just past his outstretched arm into the net.

In the 76th minute, Mineral Wells added another goal after breaking down the Eagles’ back line. Decatur had two defenders fall down on the play, leading to the goal.

“It was more of a miscommunication between our defense,” Hernandez said. “They just went through, scored the goal and finished it.”

The Rams had nearly three minutes to get the equalizer, but the Eagles’ defense held on.

Next will be a rematch against Pampa. The Eagles beat Pampa 5-0 in the area round last year.

“These guys are super excited,” Benjamin said. “Last year, they got a little taste of playoff victory. Like I said at the beginning of the year, I hope we can build off that foundation they set. These guys know what it takes. Hopefully they continue to play well.”

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