Kilgore Boys Blast Crandall To Reach 4A Region II Title Game
TYLER -- Kilgore got within one kick of outshooting Crandall an even 10 to one and cruised to a 5-0 win Friday in the Class 4A Region II semifinal round at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
The victory set up a Region II championship game with Henderson, ensuring East Texas at least one team present at the state tournament in the Class 4A state tournament next week. The Bulldogs and Henderson both hail from District 16-4A and split their two-game regular season series.
Henderson defeated Ferris 5-3 in overtime in the other semifinal game. It trailed that game 3-1 at halftime.
"We're going to do the same thing we've done all year," Kilgore head coach Austin Walker said. "We had a bad game against Henderson the (second) game. We realize that. Obviously, we'll adjust and take care of the things we need to work on to prepare for them. We know how they play, so we know what we need to do to counteract."
Walker's squad, which advanced its overall record to 18-1-7, didn't spend much time on the counter against Crandall (17-12-1). The Bulldogs attempted 29 shots in the match, including 13 on goal.
Kilgore goalkeeper Tomas Tapia was forced to make two saves at the other end. Crandall attempted three shots in total.
Spencer Stegall got a three-goal first half started in the game's 12 minute. With the wind at his back, he drove through the midfield and his toe tapper from 15 yards lined from the left flank to the right corner of Crandall's net.
The Bulldogs created four more scoring opportunities before netting their second goal of the game. Christian Galvan ended the frustration on a 12-yard free kick that deflected off a Crandall defender at the 14:49 mark.
Livan Torres knocked in a corner kick five minutes later to close the half.
Crandall benefitted from a stiff wind at its back in the second half, but it only mustered two shots.
Since Kilgore had a sizable lead, it devoted most of its resources to defending the middle section of the field.
Elian Torres, a freshman, got on the board with 19 minutes remaining in the game. The goal was assisted by Yonatan Contreras.
Torres repaid the favor eight minutes later by feeding Jaime Veloz for a pointblank shot and the 5-0 final.
"You expect the games to be a little closer, but we just matched up well with Crandall for whatever reason," Walker said. "Kudos to them. They got this far and were on a nine-game winning streak up until this point. We didn't know what to expect, but it just happened to fall that we matched up well and were able to take those mismatches that we had to our advantage."
Henderson won the most recent meeting with the Bulldogs, 3-2, at home on March 1. Walker's squad won the first meeting by a score of 4-1 on Feb. 12 in Kilgore.
If the squad escapes Henderson, it will have the opportunity to avenge a state semifinals loss last season.
"We're excited about going back to the regional finals again this year," Walker said. "All of our focus is going to be put on that and trying to win that game to get back to the state tournament. But we're by no means done or have a feeling that we're done. We want to get back to where we were last year and that means we've got to win tomorrow as well."