In a season-defining district match, Hays boys soccer came away with a huge 2-1 victory over the Bowie Bulldogs last Friday night at Shelton Stadium, earning the Rebels a much needed three points and keeping their playoff hopes alive.
“That’s enormous, it makes the rest of our season now we still have a chance,” Hays head coach Cole Reynolds said. “Without that win, we probably don’t (have a chance at playoffs).”
On the game-winning goal in the second half Rebels midfielder Edson Gonzales beat three Bulldogs defenders down the sideline before crossing the ball over perfectly to midfielder Braydon Coronado with a one-on-one opportunity for the score. Coronado one-touched the ball then connected with his left foot and got it past Bowie goal-keeper, giving Hays the 2-1 lead with 21:56 left in the game.
“I had (Bowie defender) Dillion (Alpert) that was marking me, and he was on one of my national league teams, so I just thought I just have to get a good touch to get it past Dillion,” Coronado said about his goal. “So I had that first touch and I just had to beat the keeper, then I just took it with my left foot and had to be brave.”
After a scoreless first 35 minutes of the opening half, Hays found themselves down 1-0 due to a header from Bowie’s Ryan Traves off of a corner kick in the fourth minute. But the Rebels quickly equalized before halftime with a long-distance shot, 35 plus yards, from Gerardo Rodriguez that curved into the top left corner of the net.
“When I shot it felt like it was going to go in, and then it just curved in.” Said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is the leading scorer for the season for Hays, and Reynolds and the Rebels are no stranger to his elite scoring ability.
“That’s just Gerardo,” Reynolds said regarding Rodriguez’s goal. “He can make those. He takes a lot of them, and a lot of them go in. He’s that kind of player, and he comes through when it’s necessary.”
In addition to Rodriguez, Coronado, and Gonzales, the Rebels got big-time performances from defender Michael Banyasz and captains Cooper Cawley and Lane Reynolds. At goalkeeper, Reynolds contributed eight total saves for the game.
The win over Bowie snapped a three-game losing streak for Hays, all while improving their district record to 3-4-3 and a 10-5-3 overall record. The Rebels sit in sixth place in District 25, just behind Bowie (5-6) and Anderson (5-4-1) as they fight for the final playoff spot with only six games remaining.
“We’ve got teams that we’ve played and tied that are ahead of us,” Reynolds said. “We’ve got to continue to put the ball in the net and win. I think we can.”
Hays next home game will be on Friday, Feb. 28 versus Austin High (3-6-2) at 7:45 p.m.