• Burleson junior Freddy Hernandez, left, tries to get an open shot late in the Elks’ 2-1 loss to Dallas Samuell in a Class 5A Region II area-round playoff game Tuesday at Mansfield’s R.L. Anderson Stadium. BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE

Elks season halted by Dallas Samuell

MANSFIELD - Playing in its first area-round playoff game in six years, Burleson’s boys soccer team started and ended Tuesday’s game with Dallas Samuell with a frenzy of offense.

The problem was it just wasn’t enough for the Elks as they lost to Spartans, 2-1, in a Class 5A Region II playoff game at Mansfield’s R.L. Anderson Stadium.

The loss halted the Elks season with a record of 15-5-5. It was the program’s most successful season since 2012 when Burleson reached the regional quarterfinals.

“We should have done a lot of things differently,” Burleson coach Travis Hughes said. “The effort was there tonight, we just weren’t very focused. We played hard, we just didn’t play very well. I think it was just the excitement of being in the second round for the first time in a while. It’s hard to stay focused when you haven’t ever been there before.”

The Elks scored six minutes into the game when Hayden Whitten’s throw-in found Henry Garcia, who headed the ball home for a 1-0 lead.

“We had an advantage on them size wise and their goalie didn’t have very good hands,” Whitten said. “Our game plan was to throw the ball in there and someone get their head on it which they did.”

With the wind at its back, Burleson produced plenty of scoring opportunities in the first and all but one ended in misfires that sailed hit over the crossbar.

“We didn’t put enough on frame. We challenged them on time early and got a goal and then everything after that was either high or wide. We didn’t really give ourselves a chance offensively. It wasn’t bad we just couldn’t get anything on target.”

Samuell tied the game with 17 minutes to play before the half when Eric Catalon smacked in a shot from close range.

Burleson, which had a goal nullified by an offside call in the first half, seemed to score seven minutes into the second half. After the

Spartans’ keeper stopped a pair of point-blank shots by Hayden Whitten, the ball found the back of the net.
But the goal wasn’t allowed.

“Apparently the ball when out,” Whitten said.

Two minutes later, Samuell scored what would be the game-winner. Catalon’s pass across the goal mouth missed its intended target but Adrian Lopez raced forward and ripped the ball into the net for a 2-1 lead with 31:04 to play.

“We didn’t stay marked up, we got caught ball watching,” Hughes said. “That’s just how the night went. If there was a break it didn’t go our way. We weren’t creating our own luck I guess. If there was a bounce it didn’t go our way. Sometimes that happens when you aren’t playing at the level you need too.”

As Burleson had in the first half, Samuell created scoring chances with the wind at the Spartans back but couldn’t capitalize.

In the final 12 minutes, Burleson stepped up its game offensively creating a few chances but the Elks could never score the equalizing goal.

Hughes took over a program four years ago that was in the doldrums and got it back to the playoffs in three seasons. During his post-game speech, he credited the six seniors with helping turn the program around.

“When they got here four years ago this program was in bad shape,” Hughes said. “They stuck with it. It stinks for the right now because they expected to go farther, but at the same time if someone would have said three years ago that you’d be in the playoffs in your junior and senior years people would have said they were crazy. The big picture it was a good year, it’s just hard to see it right now.”

Burleson Star

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