CARROLLTON – Trailing by one goal with 20 minutes left in Tuesday’s Class 5A area playoff, The Colony boys soccer team started to play with the desperation that head coach Lee Weddall wanted to see from his Cougars during the first half.
The Colony had several looks at the goal, the Cougars were unable to net the equalizer in a 3-2 season-ending loss to RL Turner at Hawk Stadium.
With the final seconds ticking off the game clock, seniors Franklin Corona and Victor Esquival-Ventura pushed a pair of headers wide of the mark.
“The lack of experience of playing in front of a big crowd might have gotten to them,” Weddall said. “That must explain the lack of intensity in the first half. We were very flat. They always come alive when they’re in positions of being down. You’ve got to change the culture where you come out like that the whole game. If we played the whole game like we did the last 15 minutes, we would have won this easily.”
RL Turner (17-2-4) took a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute. A corner kick by senior Juan Valdez was saved, but senior Yahir Olguin finished at the right post.
The Colony tied the score at 1-1 on a penalty kick by senior Eli Elias later in the first half. The Cougars were awarded the PK after Corona was fouled inside the penalty area. Garcia saved the penalty shot. But, Elias was awarded a second shot after a Lion player lined up inside the penalty area. Elias didn’t miss on his second attempt.
“Having played them before, it gave me an idea of who their better players were,” said Juan Gomez, RL Turner head coach. “They’ve improved since the last time that we played them. That’s a testament to coach Weddall and what he does with his boys. Obviously, we have improved from the last time that we played them. It was a good game tonight.”
Tied 1-1 at halftime, RL Turner scored two goals in a five-minute span to take control.
Lion senior Alan Flores scored 16 minutes into the second half. Flores ran to the play after The Colony defense misplayed a ball, and kicked it into the back of the net to give RL Turner a 2-1 lead.
A set piece led to another goal by RL Turner five minutes later. A free kick from 40 yards out was redirected out of harm’s way, but Lions freshman Aden Braggs pounced on the loose ball near the right post to give the Lions a commanding 3-1 lead.
That two-goal lead for RL Turner would be tested.
The Colony picked up its offensive pressure.
All of the hard work paid off with 20 minutes left in the match. The Colony was awarded a penalty kick after RL Turner senior Juan Valdez was whistled for a foul. Elias blasted a rising shot into the top of the net to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Ten minutes later, RL Turner senior goalkeeper Angel Garcia was forced to exit the game after suffering a hip injury. Summoned into action was Esteban Chavelas. The Cougars got a free kick while Chavelas was in net, but a header was redirected over the net. Garcia returned to the game less than two minutes later.
“When they put their substitute goalie in the game, that was our time,” Weddall said. “We just totally mistimed a header.”
The Colony ends an impressive season with an overall record of 17-5-3. The Cougars captured their first district championship since 1998 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
The loss also marked the end of the high school careers of nine Cougar seasons.
“They’re really amazing kids, and they’ve raised the bar for our program,” Weddall said. “They’ve set records. They’ve won more games than we ever have. We won district for the first time since 1998. They’ll be missed.”