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    Burleson’s Caleb Yauger plays the ball forward as Centennial’s Grant Brown plays defense during Friday’s District 5-5A game at Centennial. Yauger scored a late goal in the Elks’ 3-1 win over the Spartans. BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE

Second-half rally lifts Elks past Centennial

Trailing Centennial, 1-0, heading into the second half, Burleson’s boys soccer team went into grind mode.

After struggling in the first half, the Elks were able to find the back of the net three times in the final stanza to pull out a come-from-behind, 3-1, District 5-5A victory over their arch-rivals Friday night at Centennial.

We didn’t play at all in the first half,” Burleson coach Travis Hughes said.  “The first half was really, really bad and then we decided to come out and play in the second half. I think our effort in the second half led to the goals. They weren’t necessarily the prettiest goals. We were flying around to the ball and when you do that good things are going to happen.”

Hughes said his halftime speech to his players revolved around them waking up and that he wasn’t seeing the kind of effort and play he expected from them.

The win kept the Elks alone in first place in the 5-5A.

Fourteen minutes into the second half, the Elks scored the equalizing goal when senior Freddy Hernandez from the left side was saved and but Centennial’s senior keeper Jace Hoover couldn’t gather in the ball. Burleson senior Henry Garcia was there to place the rebound in the net.

It didn’t take long for Burleson to take the lead as Hernandez made the most of a throw and lashed a point-blank blast in for a 2-1 lead with 22:26 to play.

“They gave me a good throw-in and I saw the ball coming in and finished it,” Hernandez said.

Late in the game, Centennial senior Bidauri Trujillo nearly cut the lead to 3-2 but Elks’ junior keeper Gabriel Bustillos was able to tip the shot over the crossbar.

“I got my hands up just in time to save it,” Bustillos said. “It feels good to beat them. We have always had tough competition from them. It’s been head-to-head every single game. It’s good to get this win.”

With one second to play, Burleson sophomore Caleb Yauger scored the Elks final goal.

Centennial took a 1-0 lead 12 minutes into the game when senior Nick Scarpello scored an unassisted goal.

Spartans’ coach Brian Boydstun said his team came out ready to play Friday but he knew one goal probably wasn’t going to be enough against a strong Burleson squad.

“I’m really proud of how we played,” Boydstun said. “Burleson is very good. We talked about coming out with a lot of energy and the guys did that. They gave a great effort. We knew it was going to bw hard to hold them off. We knew we had to score at least one more goal to have a real shot at beating them.”

While the teams are crosstown rivals, Hernandez said the game was just another one for Elks.

“It’s just another regular game for us,” Hernandez said. “They want to treat it like something else but we just go out and play.”

Elks played well in the second half and came away with a big district win.

Elks stay in first place

The Elks remained in first place with two games to play thanks to a 1-0 victory at home over Everman.

Henry Garcia scored the lone goal off an assist from Caleb Yauger.

“We played really well for most of the game,” Burleson coach Travis Hughes said. “It’s always a great game between us and Everman.”

Burleson (16-1-5, 9-1-2, 29 points) plays at Crowley Friday and hosts Granbury Monday in its final district game.

Spartans fall to Crowley

Tuesday night, Centennial lost at Crowley, 1-0. The Spartans (10-5-4, 4-5-3, 17 points)  hosts Mansfield Legacy Friday and play at Arlington Seguin Monday to end district play.

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