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BOYS SOCCER: GOOOAAAAL!: Guerra’s shot pushes Titans into area round


Victor Salinas of Memorial dives for a loose ball as Josh Murphy of Friendswood chases it down in the second half Friday in Anahuac. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

Ryan Sweeney of Friendswood tries to recover after Luis Rodriguez of Memorial saves a shot and Juan Lua of Memorial looks on in the second half Friday in Anahuac. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 3-29-19

Carlos Guerra of Memorial reacts after the winning shootout goal, as does Friendswood goaltender C.J. Barta in the background, Friday in Anahuac. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 3-29-19

Carlos Guerra of Memorial, facing camera, smiles in celebration with teammates after making the winning shootout goal against Friendswood on Friday in Anahuac. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 3-29-19

Memorial coach Chris Bradford yells instructions during second-half play against Friendswood on Friday in Anahuac. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 3-29-19

Ethan Gamero of Friendswood takes a free kick against Memorial wall during second-half play Friday in Anahuac. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 3-29-19

ANAHUAC — Once Memorial boys soccer coach Chris Bradford picked five players for the shootout against Friendswood, he let them choose the order of attempts.

It would all fall on Carlos Guerra’s shoulders … or his foot.

“He’s always going to be one of them,” Bradford said. “He’s a good shooter.”

Guerra pushed through the winning goal on the Titans’ final attempt to knock of District 22-5A champion Friendswood 5-4, following a scoreless tie, Friday in the bi-district round of the UIL 5A playoffs at Anahuac High School.

“The first thing I had to do was stay calm because I had the game-winning goal in my hands,” Guerra said. “Really, just stay calm and know when you’re going to shoot it before you take the shot. And, yeah, I was confident in taking the shot.”

Memorial (7-9-4) will take on Houston Wisdom, a 2-1 winner of Richmond Foster, in the area round at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Port Arthur’s Memorial Stadium.

Isaias Rangel, Omar Lemus, Andres Valencia, Edgar Gonzalez and Guerra, in that order, converted the goals for the Titans. Will Schmidt opened the shootout with a make for Friendswood, Louis Catchpole missed wide right, and then Josh Murphy, Ryan Sweeney and Ethan Gamero converted for the Mustangs, who finished the season 17-4-5.

The Titans’ defense kept the Mustangs off the scoreboard through overtime with the help of junior goaltender Luis Rodriguez. He made six saves in the second half and overtime, although Friendswood controlled possession and took the majority of the shots.

“I just do it for the team,” Rodriguez said. “They really try hard on the field, and it makes me try hard. I don’t want to let them down.”

Rodriguez was key in Memorial’s shootout win over Dayton last Friday that ultimately cost the Broncos the District 21-5A title.

Bradford said Rodriguez has been building as a player since last year.

“We couldn’t do this without him,” Bradford said. “He helped us in the Dayton game in a shootout. He comes up big and makes a kid look and miss. He made many a save to keep us in it.”

Memorial won a playoff match for the second year in a row. Last year’s bi-district win, over Humble, was the first in school history.

“A lot has been put down on PA for a long, long time,” Bradford said. “I’m just here to show the world, everybody around us, that these boys can do it. They are able, and they are powerful.”

Nederland took on Santa Fe later Friday in a 5A bi-district girls match at Anahuac, but it did not finish in time for an article in this edition. See panews.com for a story.


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


**UPDATES details of area round match**

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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