CEDAR HILL - As the sole remaining playoff team from district 11-4A, the Red Oak Hawks have every intention of keeping that mantra in anticipation of a deep run in the postseason.
And that’s precisely what they did Friday night.
Thanks in large part to the right foot of midfielder Adam Pierce; the Hawks came away with a dominating 2-0 victory over the Crowley Eagles in Cedar Hill.
Both of Pierce’s goals came off of free kicks from identical spots on the field.
The first goal came in the 8th minute of the match. The Hawks were awarded a free kick 20-yards out above the top left corner of the penalty area.
That’s when Pierce drilled a free kick under the four-man wall made up of Eagles’ players. After the ball squeaked under the wall, it found its way into the bottom of the net near the post for a one-goal lead.
Twenty-one minutes later, Pierce was at it again.
The Hawks were awarded another free kick almost at the same spot as before. This time, Pierce went for the opposite corner of the goal. The senior midfielder perfectly placed his upper ninety shot into the back corner of the goal.
“Adam (Pierce) stepped up tonight,” coach Trent Kutch said. “The second goal was probably the best goal I’ve seen all year.”
The shot gave the Hawks a two-goal lead with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Red Oak held on to the lead as they entered the second half, which would become much more physical.
Numerous fouls would be called as both teams tried to established dominance in the middle of the field.
Eventually, the physical play boiled over when a Red Oak player was sent off the field after receiving his second yellow card.
Since it was a soft red as opposed to a straight red, the Hawks were able to substitute in another player instead of playing a man down.
After the ejection, the momentum seemed to shift towards the Eagles. Crowley began to apply more pressure on the Hawks’ defense.
However, Red Oak’s defense responded to the challenge as goalkeeper Ethan Wood held the Eagles scoreless.
“Once we got the two goal lead we packed it in,” Kutch said. “I figured we should make them try to beat us.”
Exhibiting great defensive effort was defenders Jose Tellez, David Harrington, Gustavo Sanchez and Ricky Tellez.
The Eagles best chance to get a goal came in the 67th minute of the match.
A hard shot was sent towards the Hawks’ goal, but Wood was able to knock the ball over the crossbar for the save.
In the 72nd minute, the Hawks almost added another goal when midfielder Ramon Lopez leaped high to place a header towards the goal. The Eagles’ goalkeeper was able to come up with the save to keep the deficit at two goals.
As the game dwindled down, Red Oak fans began a victory celebration in the stands.
“We just have to keep belief,” Kutch said. “It’s something we talked about all year. Being the third team to come out our district and still be in the playoff is something. We always knew we had a team built for this kind of playoff run.”
The Hawks will take on Mesquite Poteet in a regional semifinal game. The location and time has yet to be determined.
Kutch is ready to move on to next week. The Hawks’ head coach has been pulling double duty helping with the girls’ team this week as coach Norrell gave birth to her first child on Tuesday.
“It’s been pretty draining,” Kutch said. “But I’ve enjoyed getting the teams in our program to this point. For us to have both teams about to play in the regional semifinal games it’s definitely been worth it.”
Red Oak 2 0 - 2
Midlothian 0 0 - 0
Red Oak: Pierce (8, 29)
Red Oak: none
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