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Kofa avenges loss with win over San Luis
After losing at home to San Luis before the two teams broke for winter break, the Kofa Kings could not afford another loss. Thirty-nine minutes into the rematch, that second loss was still a very real possibility.
With 10 seconds left in the half, however, Kofa striker Kevin Huizar weaved through multiple Sidewinders and blasted an 18-yard goal to give the Kings a truckload of momentum and fueled the four-goal second half that ended the game with a 5-1 final.
“Kevin Huizar's goal was nothing short of amazing,” said Kofa coach Jamie Nicewander. “He dribbled through five people. He started at the top of the circle, blew past three kids and shot it from the top of the 18. It was an amazing drive. It took the sails out of them. They worked hard to keep us off the board and bam, we were a goal ahead going into the half, which changes the way they prepare for the second half.”
San Luis was playing shorthanded, and after a tough 2-1 loss to Cibola on Tuesday, the Sidewinders were physically and emotionally exhausted.
“My only comment is that's what happens when you have a depleted team,” said San Luis coach Ian McDougall. “I have no subs. I have my starting goalkeeper playing defender because we don't have any defenders, I have midfielders playing defense, and forwards playing defense because I don't have a team.”
McDougall declined to say why players were missing from his varsity team.
Mental issues have been troubling San Luis all season and some lapses were apparent Thursday night. After San Luis was finally able to get on the board in the 69th minute, San Luis goalkeeper Jorge Gutierrez had to leave the game after getting a yellow card for retaliating after being run into. Javier Espinoza, the normal San Luis goalie who was playing midfield Thursday, subbed in and gave up a goal to Kofa forward Jesus Felix almost immediately.
Another mental lapse came less than ten minutes later. After Gutierrez re-entered the game he made a save, then passed the ball almost directly to Felix, who scored his second goal of the night.
“We got what we deserved tonight,” McDougall said.
Felix ended the night we three goals after burying another one in the last minute of the game.
“It was all my team,” Felix said. “They pushed me to it. I had to respond, I missed a couple at the beginning, had to put them in at the end. We had to win no matter what. It was no matter what we have to win and win and win. We didn't even think about losing, at least I didn't.”
At the end of the night Kofa out-shot San Luis 15-10 and San Luis out-fouled Kofa 15-7.
“Felix got fouled umpteen times the last game,” Nicewander said. “Point being though it was deserved for him to get that hat trick. Two of the opportunities he had they were pulling on him left and right which is great, it makes them stronger. We told him let them pull on you, it means they can't stop you.”
Nicewander moved Felix from midfield to forward, allowing the free kicks to come closer to the goal.
Despite only having two losses, San Luis' playoff chances are dwindling. After the Cibola loss they dropped from No. 2 to No. 10 in the state and will probably fall further after Thursday's blowout.
“Unfortunately, it would be an injustice if San Luis didn't get to go to state with two losses,” Nicewander said. “If they clean the clocks of these teams from now on, they're going to be 10-2 probably; that's ridiculous. That is a joke. It makes the power points look like a joke. That's a big ‘if,' so I hate to say that now, but I hope that's not the case because they're a good soccer team.”