BELLMEAD — Chase Crenwelge laid on his back, hands behind his head and knees bent to the air, as his coach gave the postgame pep talk. The Salado junior midfielder had earned a little bit of a rest.
Crenwelge scored the game’s lone goal with 20:55 left in the game, snapping a scoreless affair through the match’s first 59 minutes, as the Eagles held on for a 1-0 win over host Waco La Vega in their Region III-4A bi-district playoff game Tuesday at Pirate Stadium.
“That one goal was hard enough to come by, we really didn’t want to give it up, so I was really trying to cover a lot of the field,” Crenwelge said. “And after the game, I don’t know, I guess I was just spent.”
Salado (16-6-3), which advances to play the winner between District 35-4A champion Nacogdoches and Navasota at a time and place to be determined, bought plenty of non-winning tickets Tuesday, outshooting La Vega 18-7 in the game.
“I think we missed a lot of opportunities. We spent the whole night in their half and only walk away with one goal (is disappointing),” said Eagles head coach Michael Goos.
Several of the first-half misses were the result of hesitation, as the Eagles offense had multiple opportunities deep inside the La Vega goalie box, only to either sail shots north of the crossbar or right to the La Vega goalkeeper.
“That’s kind of what we talked about at halftime, to just pull that trigger,” Goos said. “When we get in front of that goal, we’ve got to be a lot more hungry. I think at times we get too nice, and we’re in the box and we’re passing the ball around when we should have one focus and that’s putting the ball in the back of the net.”
“Those are chances against a really good team that we’ll be punished. I think we’ll definitely look at the film, … that’s definitely an area we’ll need to fix.”
Of course, in the end, they only needed one.
Crenwelge, who sailed a pair of clean shots on goal over the crossbar in the first half, more then made up for his misses in the 60th minute.
“It’s never nice to miss, but you’ve got to buy a ticket to win the lottery,” Crenwelge said. “When I hit it, it wasn’t like I wanted to hit it, but the ugly ones count just like the pretty ones. ... I was glad it went in.”
Racing up the middle of the field as a pair of La Vega defenders flanked him on either side, Crenwelge broke free as he entered the goalie box. But, as the two defenders closed in about 15 yards from the goal, Crenwelge passed to his left to a streaking Daniel Lemus, who dribbled twice before taking a shot.
“Originally I was thinking I could split them, but they got close together and I’d lost the ball enough times tonight and I laid it off to Daniel and he did the right thing and took the shot,” Crenwelge said.
But, like had happened much of the night, the shot deflected off a Pirates defender. Only this time, Crenwelge was there to get a foot on it, flicking the ball with his right foot into the right corner of the net.
Immediately after watching ball connect with net, Crenwelge turned around and sprinted back to the center of the field with his arms raised in celebration while teammates flanked him.
“You never count on one goal, it’s a bad idea that comes back to bite you, but when that one went in it sure felt like that was the one we’d waited for,” Crenwelge said.