Pine Tree Reaches Regional Quarterfinals With 2-1 Overtime Victory Over John Tyler
LONGVIEW -- The last two playoff games for Pine Tree coach Andre' Lo have been filled with tense moments, and the Pirates ensured their coach could be put in that position for at least one more round.
True Clark's goal in the second minute of the first overtime session sent Pine Tree to a thrilling 2-1 victory over John Tyler on Thursday night in their Class 4A sectional playoff in front of a home crowd at Pirate Stadium.
The win, which comes on the heels of Pine Tree's nail-biting area-round win over Mount Pleasant last week, advanced the Pirates (20-4-3) into the Region II quarterfinals where they will face either Dallas Samuell or North Dallas next week at a time and place to be determined. The winner will punch a ticket to the regional tournament next weekend in Carrollton.
John Tyler, the District 31-4A champion, finished its season at 22-3-3.
Pine Tree scored with less than three minutes to play in its 1-0 playoff win over Mount Pleasant last Friday, then rallied from a one-goal deficit with the tying goal with 15:32 remaining in regulation against JT.
"Our guys fight, and that's one thing about this team," said Lo. "No matter what the circumstances are, they fight."
There was very little action in the first 40 minutes. Pine Tree outshot John Tyler 2-1 in the opening half, but the Lions took a 1-0 lead into halftime when Ernesto Hernandez blasted a free kick past leaping Pine Tree keeper Jared Jimenez at the 25:55 mark.
"It's a matter of not making mental errors," Lo said. "Most of the time throughout the season that's what's happened to us; we made mental errors, let people sneak in a goal and we had to fight for it. JT is a good team and we're fortunate we were able to come back. And I'm glad we did."
The second half belonged to Pine Tree, which had several chances to win it in regulation.
Less than two minutes into the half, Fernando Magana's header was saved by JT keeper Luis Melendez, who again made a terrific save on a shot by Pine Tree's Juan Paz about one minute later.
Pine Tree had a two-on-one opportunity moments later when Chris Jordan passed to Clark, whose shot trickled just wide to the right of the net. The Pirates then missed a golden opportunity when the net was vacated by Melendez, and a Pine Tree shot was cleared just at the last moment by the Lions' Francisco Villella.
At that point, Pine Tree still trailed 1-0 and there were just 21 minutes remaining in regulation. Pine Tree finally found the equalizer about five minutes later when Allan Maceda scored an unassisted goal.
And it didn't take long for the Pirates to grab the game-winner. With 8:33 showing in the first overtime period, Maceda's shot caromed off Melendez to Clark, who pushed his shot into the back of the net.
"This team showed me a lot of character," Lo said. "We don't just go for a 'W.' We go to try to be a champion. The 'C' in champion is for character and these guys have it. The 'O' in champion is overcome. Every letter represents something."
Scoring chances were few and far between for John Tyler, which was outshot 11-4 for the match. Half of the Lions' shots on goal occurred in overtime when facing a deficit.
"We take pride in our defense," Lo said. "I know I'm not in American football, but guess what … defense wins championships."