Sun., Mar. 18th, 2007 Rebels lose shootout heartbreaker
Life's not fair.
It is the closest thing to comforting words for the Lee boys after being bounced from playoff contention by their third shootout loss in as many tries of the district season. The Rebels (7-9-1 overall, 4-7 District 3-5A) fought, scratched and clawed their way to a 1-0 lead with four minutes left against first-place San Angelo Central (14-2-1, 9-2) and their playoff hopes hanging in the balance. But a Bobcat free kick tied the match and Central went on to win 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday at Grande Communications Stadium.
"We didn't fight hard enough, I guess," dejected Lee coach Chris Bryant said. "We had our opportunities early in the season. You hope you can win in the shootout." It just never happened. The ironic thing is that Central had not been in a shootout this season before Saturday. Lee figured to have the advantage. But the Bobcats took a 2-1 lead after the third round of shooters and Lee's final shooter, Taylor Roberts, felt the weight of hitting the crossbar to end the match. "I don't know what to think. We play our hearts out and lose," senior forward Price Williams said. "(The shootout) is stupid, I'd rather played another 40 minutes. We played so hard. We deserved it. We wanted it more. I know we needed it more." The Rebels needed to win this match and their season finale on Monday to give themselves a shot at the postseason. Central was aiming to clinch the district title with one more win, and got it. It looked like Lee's desperation would carry them over the Bobcats in the 55th minute when Williams finally broke a scoreless tie. Brandon Hodges dropped a short pass over a Central defender on the right side of the penalty box and Williams softly brought it to the ground on the top of his right foot. He deftly faked the shot to open himself and put a gorgeous shot low inside the left post. "I just tried to stop it and luckily it went in," Williams said. "I'm not the best at finishing."
Lee settled into a defensive mind after Williams' second goal of the district season, but in the 76th minute, Central's Julio Mendoza got a free kick opportunity slightly left of the top of the Lee penalty box. He kept the shot low and it broke through a small opening in Lee's defensive wall and into the back of the net. "We definitely didn't play up to our potential, Lee definitely played to theirs. We came out real flat, just like we did at Odessa High, our only other loss (than Odessa Permian)," Central coach Tony Vu said. "It's unfortunate someone has to lose. Hopefully we can change (the shootout rule) in the future."