Red Oak is in. A win by the Waxahachie Indians would have locked another District 28-4A playoff position Tuesday but the Hawks played spoiler on Waxahachie Senior Night with a 4-1 victory at Wilemon Field.
Like the first meeting between the teams, the first half was low scoring as both defenses limited shot opportunities resulting in a 0-0 tie after 40 minutes.
In the second half the Hawks scored on a Richie Barrientos shot in the 51st minute to break the tie and open the gate for the Red Oak offense.
“When they squeaked that goal in at the first of the second half we had to match it. I thought if it stayed 0-0 for a while we were going to have our chance, like we did with the goal we did score. We had several but we did not finish any of them,” Waxahachie head coach Jason Venable said. “That first goal was unfortunate because we let that guy turn and take the shot but when they got the second one I think we got a little disheartened. We went back to our old format, took a defender out and put a player up top, and that is when we scored but then we were just a little weak in the back.”
Red Oak added a goal in the 61st minute as Joel Ramirez took a Preston Hancock assist in for the goal putting the Hawks ahead 2-0.
Waxahachie answered back with a goal by Junior Mora in the 68th minute before Red Oak added two in the final seven minutes.
The first meeting between the teams this season was 1-0 at the half before the Hawks won 7-0 in Red Oak. The slow starts and big finishes are not a concern to Red Oak head coach Trent Kutch.
“I think it is kind of getting into the groove of the game itself. We possessed the ball well in the first and second half but keeping the pressure going and keeping faith in what we are doing eventually it comes together at some point,” Kutch said. “The biggest thing is the final execution. We created chances in the first half but in the second half they finally went in.”
Jose Flores and Shay Pate added the final two Red Oak goals as the Hawks prepare for the playoffs.
“We had Johnny Jimenez step up and played well tonight. We keep finding our main scorers are still producing and then we have a couple who still keep contributing as well. So that is a positive sign,” Kutch said.
Knowing Red Oak could score in bunches Waxahachie changed its approach before the game and it worked through the first 50 minutes.
“We kind of changed our approach to the game. They have been scoring buckets of goals all year so we kind of played a more defensively based offense. We played one forward up top and it worked really well for us in the first half,” Venable said. “They are good. I am going to give them all the credit in the world. Those two guys up top are probably the best I have seen around here in a while, especially on the boys side. We fared well against a really good team and unfortunate they scored a couple late that should not have been allowed.”
Waxahachie moved one of its leading scorers, Nathan Dyke, from the front to the back and paired him with Yovany Arvizu and Charlie Bently to create problems for Red Oak. The defensive plan worked until Red Oak’s second goal forced Waxahachie to move to an offensive minded attack.
While the loss on senior night stings, the Indians have one more chance to claim a playoff spot. Ferris beat Ennis 3-2 Tuesday to stay alive in the playoff race with Waxahachie and Corsicana.
Red Oak and Ennis are the top two teams with Corsicana, Waxahachie and Ferris not far behind. A Waxahachie win against Corsicana Friday assures the Indians a playoff spot. The Indians defeated Corsicana 2-0 to end the first round of district play. Game time is 5:30 p.m.