RED OAK – Erase seven minutes worth of time from the boys game between Red Oak and Waxahachie on Friday night and you have a completely different situation.
After clinging to a 1-0 lead at halftime, the Hawks’ offense opened the second half with an offensive barrage, scoring four goals in exactly seven minutes en route to a 7-0 win over their district and county rivals.
It’s not the first time Waxahachie coach Jason Venable has seen the situation and it doesn’t get any less frustrating.
“I don’t think we’ve been down by more than a couple goals at half of any game of the season at this point and we felt pretty good at halftime,” Venable said. “We’ve got to prevent that from happening again because if we’re playing somebody that’s even with us and we get in a funk like that anybody can beat us. That’s definitely something we’ve got to focus on.”
Shay Pate’s goal off a Daniel Almaguer assist was the only scoring of the first half as both teams defense played well. Waxahachie forced Red Oak’s goalie to save twice as many shots at halftime and showed good pressure.
However Pate’s early goal was a teaser of things to come.
The senior took a Joel Ramirez assist into the net at the 38:56 mark of the second half to spark a surge that lasted exactly seven minutes. Just over a minute later, Almaguer scored off a Richie Barrientos’ assist. About three and half minutes later, Pate struck again off a Barrientos’ assist.
The scoring was capped when Barrientos deflected a shot by Almaguer into the net for a goal that capped the offensive flurry at the 31:56 mark.
“We came out with more intensity and just with a mentality of winning, putting goals away,” Ramirez said. “At times we seemed like we were a little rusty but we had to give it time to click in and we put them away.”
Kutch said after watching the first half he knew his team was in position to score and come away with the win. They simply weren’t finishing.
The halftime speech apparently wasn’t an overbearing one but a simple direction to focus and capitalize on opportunities when they emerged. The message stuck.
“(The speech) was just basically keep playing the way we were doing. The opportunities were there but it was can we become efficient with the chances we’re given? We were lacking the final pass in the first half, the spacing was there and when the opportunities were there we made sure to take care of business,” Kutch said.
For Pate the game was a rallying point from recent struggles. In Red Oak’s last two games, the standout player has failed to score and it has shown up on the stat sheet. Against Corsicana, the Hawks tied 0-0 and the team only beat Ferris 4-0.
Venable labeled Pate as “probably the MVP of the district” because of performances like he put up against the Indians. Pate said the effort felt good considering his recent two-game slump. But the team’s performance was more important than his.
“We needed it too,” Pate said with a smile.
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