Allan Lopez’s Two Late Goals Send Jacksonville Past Hallsville + Into Regional Tournament
LINDALE -- If nothing else, the Jacksonville Indians should be well-equipped to deal with closely contested games at this weekend's Class 5A Region II soccer tournament.
It's become of the central theme of their playoff run.
The third chapter was completed Tuesday night when Allan Lopez scored twice in the final 10:29 to push Jacksonville past Hallsville, 2-1, in their regional quarterfinal at Eagle Stadium.
Jacksonville, which will be competing at regionals for the second consecutive season, faces Wylie East at 7 p.m. Friday from Carrollton's Standridge Stadium in one regional semifinal. The winner will face either Frisco Wakeland or Lufkin at 4 p.m. Saturday with a berth to the UIL state tournament in Georgetown on the line.
Despite trailing Hallsville (17-8-2) for nearly 70 minutes, Jacksonville (18-7-3) found a way to advance just as it had done in the previous two rounds -- a bi-district victory decided on penalty kicks against Pine Tree, and last week's overtime shocker over Mansfield Lake Ridge.
"I think that's what our playoff run's been," said Jacksonville coach Rudy Jaramillo following Tuesday's come-from-behind win. "We've gone to overtimes and PK's, and I feel like we're finally getting it together where we don't have to play an overtime. I feel like our boys just stayed calm the entire time, and all I've got to do is stay calm for them and put them in a better position to make them succeed."
Lopez's two goals occurred less than five minutes apart. The first, which tied the game at 1-1 at the 10:29 mark of the second half, came after a brilliant pass upfield from Ander Lopez.
Jacksonville went ahead for good with 5:56 remaining when Allan Lopez blasted a loose ball in the box to the left of diving Hallsville keeper Mason Beatty.
"(Ander Lopez) passed it to me, I took it off my chest, and I just turned around a shot it," Allan Lopez said of his equalizing goal. "And then I don't know what happened (on the second goal) … I just moved around and saw the ball, turned around and shot it."
Jaramillo wasn't surprised it was Allan Lopez playing the hero.
"He can play forward or in the middle, wherever I need him to," the coach said. "Everything that I do out there is to try to put him in a better position to be of better use to us."
Hallsville, the much bigger team, used its size and strength to go up 1-0 late in the first half, while thwarting Jacksonville's myriad of scoring opportunities for most of the match. The Indians' only hope was that their superior speed on the edges would eventually wear down the Hallsville defense.
"I knew that down the middle they were going to beat us, I knew that physically they were going to beat us," Jaramillo said of Hallsville. "So what we did was put our speed (outside) a lot and try to beat them that way. And I feel like that's how we got them. They beat us on their goal purely with their size."
Jacksonville dominated possession in the first half, but Hallsville was able to draw first blood with 2:46 remaining until halftime when Bobcats 6-4 senior forward Jamil Young pushed a shot past Indians' goalie Jorge Arredondo following a throw-in from Andrew Southard.
"One of the things that our coach told us about Hallsville was their throw-ins," Allan Lopez said. "They were so good at throw-ins, and that's how they scored the first goal. I was kinda of nervous (after that goal), but we made true passes and finally we scored."