Palestine Torches Ferris in Final Minutes of Regional Semis
LONGVIEW – Palestine wasn’t its usual self.
The Wildcats weren’t finding the open passes. They weren’t closing out on defense. They weren’t winning.
That all changed in a matter of minutes.
The Wildcats needed a tying goal from Ferris to wake up. Suddenly, with their season on the line, they found themselves. Palestine turned a tie game into a 6-2 victory in the Region II 4A regional semifinal game on Friday.
It was far from a perfect game. But for 13 minutes, Palestine showed why it hasn’t lost all season. The Wildcats looked crisp, scoring four unanswered goals to remove all doubt of their abilities.
“I’ll give (Ferris) some credit, but we didn’t play that good,” coach John Absalom said. “We were kicking the ball around. We weren’t possessing it like we normally do. Instead of finding the simple pass, we were making the long pass. I don’t know if it was jitters or just not a great match. But yeah, when they got that second goal our captain stepped up. I could hear him out there saying, ‘Let’s go guys, let’s get after it.’ We saw it happen out there.”
Heriberto Diaz’ goal with 14:07 left roused something in the Wildcats.
It took one minute for Chris Giron to respond with a goal of his own. Five minutes for Javier Leonor to put Palestine (33-0) up two goals. Just more than 10 minutes for Leonor to score again, putting the game out of reach.
This was a Palestine that Absalom was familiar with.
“That’s what we’ve done all year,” he said. “We never let up on people. Keep scoring. Keep getting after it.”
The Wildcats led 2-0 at halftime after a modest first half. Jose Sanchez scored before two minutes had passed, faking out the defense. Malachai Musil hit the goalpost but got a lucky bounce for the Wildcats’ second goal.
Palestine will face the winner of Chapel Hill and Terrell at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. The game was partially played on Friday but postponed because of lightning and will be concluded at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Although Palestine still has plenty of work to do to achieve its ultimate goal, Absalom is proud of his team for its effort on Friday.
“We had the heart of a lion and finished them off,” he said. “That’s just the way this team is. They never quit and they’ve resilient.”