San Elizario Too Much For Kilgore + End Bulldogs’ Season With 5-1 Rout In Semifinals
GEORGETOWN -- The Kilgore Bulldogs were already facing an uphill battle, down two goals at halftime in their Class 4A state semifinal.
And San Elizario's Edwin Marquez provided his own personal roadblock to the top of the mountain with three second-half goals in the Eagles' 5-1 rout of Kilgore, Wednesday evening at Birkelbach Field.
Kilgore, which was making its second appearance at the UIL state soccer tournament, finished its season at 25-4-1.
San Elizario (17-4-3), a community just outside El Paso, will face Liberty Hill (22-5) at 2:30 p.m. Friday for the state championship.
"I give credit to them, they were a good team, they played with three forwards and they did it well," said Kilgore first-year coach Austin Walker of San Elizario. "Now, did we play our best? I don't think so, but we would've had to play at our best in order to beat that team."
Marquez, a junior forward, scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second half to push San Elizario's lead to 4-0. And his penalty kick goal in the 57th minute increased the advantage to five.
"We knew at the beginning that was one of their big players, and our goal was to kinda control him and not let him turn," Walker said of Marquez. "Because we knew that if he got his body turned towards the goal he was going to be dangerous. And we didn't contain him the way that we hoped we would."
San Elizario and Kilgore were even for much of the first half, but in the 27th minute, Marcos Utajara gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead on a feed from Alejandro Madrid. And less than two minutes later, Edgar Corral blasted a free kick 50 yards and into the net to push the San Elizario advantage to 2-0.
Three Marquez goals in the first 16 minutes of the second half, including one off another assist from Madrid, all but put to rest any hopes of Kilgore comeback.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board in the 63rd minute when Fernando Ceja, one of four Kilgore seniors on the roster, blasted a free kick from close range through the net.
"We had four seniors and (midfielder) Collin Nutt, in particular, really stepped up and decided that he was going to take this team on and lead it," Walker said. "And he did a great job. We were a little immature at the beginning and we were a little undisciplined and out of shape, but we worked at it and worked hard and got to this point. And we can be proud of getting to that point, and like I just told them: this is motivation for next year."
Kilgore will return the bulk of its roster to next season, including junior Christian Galvan, who enjoyed a breakout during the postseason. He scored five goals in Kilgore's three playoff wins in the previous week.
"We were young and none of them had ever been here before, so hopefully next year we continue to grow and get back to this point, and we won't be as wide-eyed and nervous," Walker said.