Hallsville Moves on with 4-1 Win Against Red Oak
LINDALE — The Bobcats have done some impressive things through four rounds of the Class 4A soccer playoffs.
Add representing East Texas to the list. Hallsville defeated Red Oak, 4-1, Monday evening in the Region II Quarterfinals at Lindale’s Eagle Stadium for a trip to the regional tournament.
“The Frisco teams are good and they’ve got some talented boys,” head coach Tom Wait said as his school’s students swarmed the field to celebrate with the Bobcats. “We’re going to have to just step up our game. At this point, it’s anybody’s game. We’re going to have to play, not lights out, but play hard, smart and play want-to soccer.”
Hallsville is the first team to punch their ticket to Carrollton’s Standridge Stadium after a modest finish in District 32-4A.
Its next opponent will either be Frisco Liberty High School or Forney. Those two teams square off Tuesday in the Metroplex.
Frisco Wakeland or Mesquite Poteet also will be a part of the 4A Region II tournament in Carrollton as will the winner of Tuesday’s match between Pine Tree and North Dallas High School.
“This year is our first year to win a playoff game,” team captain and midfielder Joey Ortiz said. “Coming this far, I think the guys love it so much. We never knew we had this in us. Now that everybody is getting a taste of it, they’re just wanting more. All the hard work is paying off.”
Hallsville surprised its own district champion, Kilgore, in the third round.
But hearing a team is hot at the right time is different than seeing them in person, as Red Oak learned.
The Bobcats have some big bodies at the forward and midfield positions, and Ortiz has become a master of throw-ins and corner kicks. All of that came into play as the East Texas team recovered from losing its 1-0 advantage in the first half for a 1-1 draw at the break.
“We were not winning tackles, they were dispossessing us and they kept on attacking us,” Wait said of Red Oak. “Even after we scored. It was kind of tough, but we just talked about it at halftime. I just said, ‘Hey, you want to move on for another game? You’ll have to play a little bit tougher. Play a little bit harder and smarter.’ We sure did in that second half. We dominated the second half, so it was very good to see that result.”
Hallsville regained the lead with 36:50 to play and never looked back after Andrew Southard found the back of the net on an assist from Ortiz.
‘Captain Ortiz’ kept the pressure on Red Oak with strong throw-ins and corner kicks from the sideline right into the middle of the field.
While most high school teams attempt short passes from the sidelines to start a possession and then work toward the goal, Ortiz and a handful of other Bobcats players simply put the ball in scoring position on their first touch.
“I’ve got a couple of guys that have the great ability to put the ball,” Wait said. “We’ve got some great (players) for free kicks and a great throw-in. We’ve got the ability for a long throw.”
Throw-ins into the net don’t count as goals — the ball must touch another player before hitting the net — but goalkeepers have to attack the throw with opposing players around them. Ortiz knew this and on two occasions put the ball right in front of the goalie for scoring opportunities.
Caleb Hagans scored the first goal of the match on a throw-in from Ortiz in the game’s 12th minute.
Marcus Gonzales put Red Oak back in the game with a goal at the 12:20 mark of the first half.
Southard got that early second half goal and then goals by Jamil Young and Gustavo Lilly put the game out of reach with more than 13 minutes remaining in regulation.
Hallsville’s fans spilled onto the field shortly after to greet their team and wave the school flag in victory.
“We’re putting Hallsville on the map,” Ortiz said. “The whole schools starts coming together. There’s good support in all the sports. We all try to show each other support because we never know when we’ll see each other again. The support all around the school is really good.”