It was a nice, warm 73-degree day at Raytown South High School Thursday night, but Van Horn head coach Jesus Rodriguez was freezing at the end of his team’s match with crosstown rival Truman.
That’s because his team dumped a large cooler of ice water on him, but that didn’t stop Rodriguez from celebrating with his team. He ran toward his players while clapping his hands as they received the first-place trophy following a 3-1 win in the championship game of the Raytown South Tournament.
“I was extremely cold, I hope I don’t call in sick tomorrow,” Rodriguez said. “I have to get to work. It’s still a great feeling at the end.”
Rodriguez showed similar excitement for a goal scored by Falcons junior midfielder Angel DeAvila on a spectacular move that put the game away. DeAvila received a cross from Reynalso Jean-Pierre in Truman’s third of the field. He ran about 10 yards forward with a Truman defender trailing him closely. Out of nowhere, the junior made a sharp cut to his right, leaving him wide open. He then nailed a picture perfect shot at the top of the 18-yard box and it went past Patriots goalkeeper Jaxon Kalig to make it 3-1 in the 61st minute.
“Honestly, I just blacked out,” DeAvila said. “I was full of adrenaline and everything just happened all of a sudden. I made the shot and celebrated with my teammates.”
The shot got Rodriguez pumped up as he hopped up and pumped both of his fists after seeing a highlight-reel caliber move from his all-state midfielder.
“He’s such an explosive player,” Rodriguez said of DeAvila. “He faked like he was going to keep running and he popped it back a little bit so the defender’s leg kind of whiffed. After that, I knew it was a goal. You can’t give a player like that, that much space.”
That was the highlight of a dominant second half for Van Horn in which it outshot Truman 13-0.
“Our coaches told us at halftime to have fun and keep it positive,” DeAvila said. “They were talking about statistics and how we were dominating the first half. They told us to keep improving.”
For Manny Tovar’s Patriots, it was a case of his players running out of energy.
“We had some tired legs after yesterday,” Tovar said. “We played a double overtime game less than 24 hours ago. And we played against a team that had a day to rest. It’s not an excuse, but it makes a difference when we play high-caliber teams.”
“I thought we did well in the first half, and in the second half, we got away from what we were trying to do.”
The teams went back and forth in the first 40 minutes with both just missing on golden scoring opportunities. Midway through the half, Truman senior midfielder Korby Ring was one-on-one with a Van Horn defender inside the penalty box. He headed the ball forward while Falcons goalkeeper Adrian Chavira was out of position. The ball was bouncing toward the wide open net and appeared as if it would go in the net. But Van Horn defender Brian Parra flew in from the left side and made a goal-saving sliding kick to knock the ball out of bounds.
“We tell our guys when the keeper comes out, to run to the line,” Rodrigez said. “If the ball is chipped over or if there is a rebound, you have to have someone there. And (Parra) was and he saved that goal.”
DeAvila had a wide-open shot inside the box that looked like it was headed inside the right post shortly after that, but Kalig made a diving save to keep the game scoreless.
Ring finally scored the game’s first goal in the 28th minute when he received a long pass from a teammate and dribbled the ball to the right wing. Chavira came out to challenge but Ring lofted a shot over him and into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
About 2 minutes later, Falcons sophomore forward Edison Rios scored on an identical shot when Kalig came out to challenge, sneaking one just under the crossbar to tie it 1-1, a score that held until halftime.
“My coach called me out and told me too never miss a goal again,” Rios said. “So I put it in and made sure I scored.”
Just a 1:27 into the second half, Van Horn broke the tie. After Julio Rios made a penalty kick following a Truman foul in the penalty box, the referees ordered a restart because the junior started his run before the whistle. Luckily for the Falcons, he was able to make his second attempt, too. He punched it inside the right post for the go-ahead goal.