Henderson Rallies To Take Down Ferris In Overtime + Faces Kilgore Today
TYLER -- Henderson scored two goals in non-sudden death overtime to keep its season alive Friday in the Class 4A Region II semifinals at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
Pardon Lions coach Evan Dean for feeling faint of heart amid the celebration. His team scored the final four goals in its long, 5-3 win against Ferris.
"You read about that stuff in books or see it in movies," Dean said. "They just would not be denied. They wanted it so bad. They pushed and they finally got it. I'm so happy for them. Myself, I'm probably going to have a heart attack tonight. But, if that's the case, I'm so happy that I got to see that. It was great."
The victory set a date with Kilgore in the regional championship game. First kick is at 11 a.m. today back at Rose Stadium in Tyler.
Henderson (19-4-1) and Kilgore, a one loss team, met twice in District 16-4A competition. Dean's side is responsible for that one defeat.
Class 4A Region II's entire field is made up of East Texas teams. On the girls side, Athens will face Kilgore.
That means the region will send at least one boys and one girls team to the state tournament next week in Georgetown regardless of what happens elsewhere.
"We've got one of the toughest districts," Dean said. "Not just 4A, but 5A and 6A. You see Kilgore and they're just consistently great every single time. We know them well. Heck, most of these guys played soccer against each other their whole lives. Even played with them. It's great.
"It's so much fun to show what little town East Texas soccer can do to some folks."
Carlos Orta put the Lions in position to send Dean's broad East Texas message to Ferris (20-2-1) almost immediately. He airmailed a straight, 30-yard shot into the net 11 minutes into the contest.
Auturo Lopez countered with his own bending corner kick for Ferris five minutes later to steal momentum -- and perhaps Henderson's season.
Heriberto Diaz scored five minutes after Lopez and then Lopez fed his brother, Huriel Lopez, on another corner kick goal for a 3-1 halftime advantage.
Henderson senior midfielder Julio Cervantes had a few tricks up his sleeve, however. Three to be specific.
Cervantes headed in Orta's lead pass at the 37:58 mark of the second half to start a dominant 28-minute stretch through the middle minutes of the frame. Unfortunately, those 28 minutes were fruitless on the scoreboard.
Ferris turned away four Lions scoring chances in the timeframe.
Then corner kick luck turned on Ferris.
Cervantes knocked in a straight line bullet from Sergio Gonzalez at the flag to tie the match, 3-3, with 8:53 remaining in regulation.
Goalkeeper Bryan Guevera blocked a Ferris shot out of position with 3:30 to play to keep overtime on the table. Jaden Hinojosa almost gave Henderson the win two minutes later on a header.
High school overtime consists of two 10-minute halves of non-sudden death overtime. It didn't take long for the Lions to take a stranglehold.
Senior forward Michael Gonzalez found a ball that dropped behind Ferris' back line in the first minute of the first overtime period and fired from close range. The shot scooted from the field's right flank to the top left of Ferris' goal.
Then, with 3:09 left in the first extra period, Cervantes recorded a hat trick on a third header.
Ferris put up two shots in the second overtime. Guevara came up with the saves.
"We knew we had it in us to come and finish it off," Cervantes said. "Coach D. was still motivating us. We didn't fold and we knew we had a comeback in us. The first goal was huge. That shortened their lead and brought them down a little bit."
Kilgore defeated Henderson in February by a score of 4-1. The Lions answered with a 3-2 victory at home in the second round of league play.
Neither team has lost since March 2. A streak will end today.
"It's going to be intense," Cervantes said. "It's going to be a very close game. They beat us once. We beat them once. We know we're going to do everything we can do to beat them. I've played with them ever since I was young. I know what they're capable of and I know what our team is capable of. We're going to bring it to them."