Walking off the Shoemaker field, Belton senior goalie Carlo Mosnia had a half-hearted and slightly sarcastic “Yay” when it was announced the Tigers were District 8-5A champions.
Been there, done that.
With five different players scoring goals, including a pair by senior captain Angel Hernandez, Belton secured its fifth-straight district championship, locking up the 8-5A title with a 6-0 shutout of the host Grey Wolves on Wednesday, a day after lightning delayed Tuesday’s scheduled match.
“Most of the excitement came last night when we heard about (district co-leading Waco) Midway and Harker Heights’ tie, so we were pretty confident coming into this game,” Belton senior fullback Cody Bartek said. “We knew what we could do and just had to finish it off, so I think most of the excitement was on the bus headed home last night.”
Entering the contest trailing Midway for the district lead by 1/2-game by virtue of the Panthers’ 0-0 tie Tuesday to Heights, the Tigers (18-2-4, 13-1 8-5A) just took care of business against second-to-last place Shoemaker (8-17-1, 2-11-1) with three goals in each half — including an exciting last-second header by sophomore Jose Guzman as the halftime buzzer sounded.
“At the buzzer, you score, everybody gets excited — that’s the American way,” Belton coach Tarcisio Mosnia said. “They like to see things that normally shouldn’t happen but they do. That sparked us a little bit.”
Hernandez’s two goals came within seconds of each other between the 13th and 14th minutes of each half, the first on a 15-foot cross off a clearing header from Bartek following a free kick to put the Tigers up 1-0 at the 26:54 mark of the first half.
“It’s a five play, and what we do is run across and try to distract as much as we can and I’m suppose to go to the goalie, ... and that’s why I think it’s really successful because there’s so much distraction,” said Bartek, who also added a goal.
Hernandez’s second came at the 27:03 mark of the second half on a cleanup second-chance, empty-netter following a deflection off the left post as a shot by teammate Cesar Cruz deflected past a diving Ganske before settling right in front of Hernandez for the easy two-foot chip in.
“There’s a lot of times when he gets moving, it’s almost like electricity starts going through the kids and everybody else fires up,” Mosnia said.
Fellow senior Timothy Williams took advantage of a crowded Grey Wolves net and put it into the left corner for a 2-0 advantage with 9:16 left in the first half.
But the most thrilling goal of the day came 9:15 later when Guzman — one of the smallest players on the team — got his head on a throw-in from Ryan Parker and flicked it right under the crossbar and past confused Shoemaker goalie Trevor Ganske as the halftime buzzer sounded.
“The littlest dude on the team got some air and put it right into the back of the net,” Bartek said.
Bartek finally got on the board with himself eight minutes into the second half on another throw-in by Parker as the 6-foot-3 Bartek out-lept the Shoemaker defense and got a clean header past Ganske in goal for a 4-0 lead.
Belton’s last goal occurred with just 2:17 left on the clock with senior Corey Entrop, who had just entered the game three minutes earlier, scored off a free kick attempt.
For the game, Belton outshot Shoemaker 29-4 and 12-3 on goal attempts. Tigers senior goalie Carlo Mosnia, who didn’t have much action to contend with, finished with three saves while his Shoemaker counterpart, Ganske, had six saves.
Contact Alex Byington at email@example.com or (254) 501-7566