Spartans topple Elks
A pair of keepers made big plays Friday night as Centennial defeated Burleson, 5-3, in a shootout at Centennial.
The two points gained by the Spartans were huge as they tried to stay in the hunt for a playoff berth in District 9-5A.
“It was a huge game for us,” Centennial coach Brian Boydstun said. “Both sides should be proud. They both played well.
“Everyone who watched can see just how hard Burleson kids and our kids played. I’m really proud of my guys.”
The game finished in a 1-1 tie but Burleson had a chance to win the game in the final 10 seconds but Centennial keeper Josh Emslie made a kick save on a shot by Burleson’s Henry Garcia.
“I saw him going to the left side and when he shot it low, I had to stick my foot out which a lot of people don’t like me doing but it worked,” Emslie said.
In the ensuing shootout, neither Emslie nor Elks’ keeper Alex Heinle could make a save on the shot. Burleson’s third shooter, Hayden Whitten, fired a shot wide of the right post leaving the door open for the Spartans. Centennial’s next three shooters: Nick
Scarpello, Bidauri Trujillo and Alex Miranda each buried their shots to give their side the shootout win.
Emslie’s save at the end of regulation was over shadowed by another save.
With 7:26 to play in the first half, Emslie was served a yellow card for a foul in the box and had to exit the game. He handed his keeper’s jersey to Corin Seale, who said he last played keeper when he was seven.
Seale guessed right on Rolando Medina’s penalty kick and came up with a huge save that kept the game scoreless.
“I really expected (the penalty kick) to go in but Corin prevailed,” Emslie said. “He came through for the team.”
Earlier in the day, the Spartans had been talking about who would take over at keeper for Emslie if the need arose and Seale came up big in the situation.
“I went in there with confidence and picked a side and got lucky,” Seale said.
Four minutes later, Casey Wright played a through ball to Mason McBeath who then chipped a shot over Heinle to put the Spartans up 1-0.
Burleson responded at the 28:55 mark of the second half when Freddy Hernandez scored the game-tying goal off an assist from Edgar Lopez.
“I thought we played pretty well actually and controlled a lot of the game,” Burleson coach Travis Hughes said. “They do a good job of breaking on the counter, but I thought we had the ball in their end a lot of the night, we just couldn’t find the back of the net a second time. Their keeper made a couple of good saves and we had several near misses. We just have to keep looking forward, at this point of the season every game is a big game.”
Boydstun was more than pleased with the result.
“We found a way to get two points which is what we desperately needed for the playoff chase,” Boydstun said. “It is such a big win because Burleson is such a great team.”
Elks, Spartans get big wins Tuesday
Burleson and Centennial moved into good positions to claim playoff berths Tuesday night thanks to a pair of win.
The Elks defeated Cleburne, 2-1, thanks to Whitten’s game-winner with just under a minute to play.
Whitten’s goal came off an assist from Freddy Hernandez. The Elks first goal came from Hernandez.
Second-place Burleson (8-2-2, 26 points) plays at Arlington Seguin Friday and hosts Crowley Tuesday.
Centennial won at Granbury, 3-1, Tuesday.
Wright, Miranda, and Trujillo each scored goalswhile Chase Epps and Scarpello registered assists.
The Spartans (5-5-2, 22 points) are tied for third place with Everman.
Centennial hosts Joshua Friday and plays Monday at Everman.