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BOYS SOCCER: Bigham goes big, lifts Indians over Titans in OT

PNG 4, Memorial 3, OT

Mario Oceguera of PNG free kicks against the Memorial defense in the first half in Port Arthur on Friday. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 3-8-19

Jesus Maldonado (15) of PNG scored a goal late in the first half against Memorial in Port Arthur. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 3-8-19

Zane Hernandez (22) of PNG and Andrez Hernandez (2) of Memorial battle for possession in the first half Friday in Port Arthur. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 3-8-19

Omar Lemus (22) celebrates with Azael Monreal (8) after Monreal scored on a wheel kick with 10 minutes left in regulation against PNG on Friday in Port Arthur. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 3-8-19

Andrez Hernandez of Memorial dribbles past Brian Figueroa (12) and Marlon Sandoval (4) of PNG in the second half Friday in Port Arthur. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

Azael Monreal, Angelo Gonzalez and Marvin Fernandez of Memorial form a wall against a PNG free kick in the second half Friday in Port Arthur. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 3-8-19

It’s just like next-door rivals to go overtime — twice in the same season.

Junior Ty Bigham equalized the match with about 4 minutes left off a free kick and converted a penalty kick in the first overtime period, as Port Neches-Groves pulled out a 4-3 win over Memorial at Port Arthur’s Memorial Stadium on Friday night.

The win broke a tie between the two teams for second place in District 21-5A standings with two matches to go for each. PNG earned the season sweep after winning the last meeting 2-1 in overtime in Port Neches on Feb. 12.

“We just have a lot of competition with [Memorial],” Bigham said. “We play with them in league, and we always love the fight against them.”

Dayton had 24 points going into Friday.

PNG (15-7-2, 7-2-1 in 21-5A, 23 points) cleared out a free kick and Bigham made a short-range shot to even the score at 3-3.

“I was just putting through effort for my team, trying to win the game,” Bigham said. “It was really an out-of-body experience when I scored the tying goal.”

Memorial (6-8-3, 6-3-1, 20 points) had come from a 2-1 halftime deficit to take the lead in the 70th minute of regulation. Azael Monreal remarkably wheeled in the go-ahead goal, rebounding a corner kick.

Isaias Rangel evened the score at 2-2 for the Titans.

Jesus Maldonado crossed a shot into the net from the left side with about 3 minutes left in the first half to give the Indians the lead. The first 40 minutes were mostly back-and-forth in possession.

Mario Oceguera headed in a rebound in about the 15th minute to put PNG ahead 1-0, only for Memorial’s Juan Ceja to equalize on a rebound of his own following a diving save by Isai Acosta in the 20th.

“Hats off, first of all, to Memorial,” Luttrull said. “Coach [Chris] Bradford does a tremendous job with those guys. They are such a scary team every year. We knew coming into their place, it was going to be tough to get a result. We were going to have to keep fighting, keep fighting, and keep pushing on, and we were able to get it our way.”

Luttrull went with two goaltenders, as Santiago Agudelo came on in the second half. Memorial kept attacking after going up 3-2, but Agudelo came up with six saves in the final 10 minutes.

“It’s really a blessing when you’ve got Santiago and Isai back there to be unselfish and put the team first,” Luttrull said.

Also Friday: Nederland lost 2-1 to Cleveland.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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