ENNIS – Richie Barrientos admits his first goal in Red Oak's 3-0 win over Ennis on Tuesday was a lot of luck. Well, a little luck and a lot of strength.
Barrientos fired off a shot that hit Ennis' goalie right in the hands but still had enough power to find its way into the net as the ball failed to be corralled. It was Barrientos' first of two goals on the night.
“That was kind of luck but it was a powerful shot. You've seen me from kicking season. I've got a leg on me,” Barrientos says with a smile.
Coming off a big win over county rival Waxahachie on Friday, the Hawks (16-1-3, 4-0-1 district) relied on Barrientos early on to take control. His first blast came just under five minutes into the match off an assist by Daniel Almaguer. About eight minutes later, Barrientos had his second of the game, this time off an assist by Preston Hancock.
That strong effort was exactly what coach Trent Kutch was hoping for as his two leading goal scorers struggled to find a rhythm in the face of pressure early on.
“He's been a huge key player because it seems for instance he shows up when my other two strong players don't,” Kutch said. “It's been a great balance. If something's not working with my two leading goal scorers, in pops in him. I always know I've got some form of balance there.”
Of course, the Lions could only keep those two scoring leaders down for so long.
Almaguer, the district's offensive MVP last season, collected a Ramen Lopez pass about 30 yards away from the net and fired off a looping shot that bent into the top right corner of the goal for the final points of the game at the 15:47 mark of the first half.
While there was plenty of time left in game, the shot was pretty much a back-breaker for Ennis which they never recovered from. The Lions made a run at the Red Oak goal early in the second half but never got a quality shot.
The three early goals were a major turn for the Hawks from their performance against Waxahachie last week. In that game, Red Oak had just one first half goal before errupting in the second half with six more goals en route to the win. Kutch was glad to see his team find that strong start and then close out a game with solid defense. It might not have been the most pretty way to win but it was efficient and necessary.
“It was important to start off strong. The biggest thing for us tonight was the winner here was going to be in first place so it was good to see that they came out with the right mentality and they kept the composure in the situations,” Kutch said.
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