Tribe Soccer defeats Palestine 3-1 to claim a share of 16-4A crown

Mar. 17—The Jacksonville High School boy's soccer team hit a trifecta at the Historic Tomato Bowl on Friday night.

The Tribe handed Palestine a 3-1 defeat — the Wildcats' first loss of the season — and by doing so finished the regular campaign as the District 16-4A Co-Champions (along with the Wildcats) and all of this was done on Senior Night.

Seniors Jose Escareno, Roberto Munoz, Dylen Roberts, Juan Cedillo and Nathan Ramirez will positively remember their final regular season match against the Tribe's arch rivals, Palestine.

Palestine did everything right in the opening half and was able to take a 1-0 lead into the dressing room at the break. Tony Garcia scored his 42nd goal of the season with 31:43 to play in the first half to enable Palestine to draw first blood.

The Tribe had several well-placed shots that just missed in the opening half, but were unable to get anything past Wildcat keeper, Justus Musil, who came up with five saves in the first 40:00.

The final half was a different story, as Jacksonville got the equalizer with 35:46 left to play. The score came when Armando Lara got control of a deflection near the post and booted the ball in, making the score 1-1.

What turned out to be the game winning goal was delivered by Cedillo, who received a corner kick from the far side and blasted a laser past Musil from 16 yards out. Cedillo's goal came with a little more than 29:00 left in the match.

Jacksonville's scoring spree continued when Karol Cardenas drilled in a penalty shot from 20-yards away, straight away, that was a top shelf gem. The goal came with 13:41 showing on the clock.

"We just missed scoring some goals in the first half," Jacksonville head soccer coach Rudy Jaramillo said. "I knew if we could just keep taking those shots that something would break through and when it did, it opened the gates for more goals. We really felt like we could make this happen in the second half, so we didn't make a lot of changes (at halftime) for that reason."

Jaramillo said that one slight adjustment that was made was to get Roberts and Yair Balderas more involved on the outside in the final 40:00 and when Jacksonville was able to widen the pitch it opened things up in the middle and the Tribe forwards were able to take advantage of that.

"Karol Cardenas, a freshman, really deserves some credit for his part in this win," Jaramillo said. "We had to move him around due to injuries and (yellow) cards and he played in several different spots and did well in everything that we asked him to do."

Davy Smith returned to action after missing several matches due to medical reasons and he came up with seven saves to earn the win between the pipes.

"We didn't have Davy the first time we played (Palestine, and it really gave us a boost having him back out there," Jaramillo said. "He played well for us."

Jacksonville had 11 shots on goal compared to Palestine's eight.

Jacksonville (19-3-2, 13-1) will represent District 16-4A as the No. 2 seed and Palestine (25-1-1, 13-1) will enter post season play as the circuit's top season as a result of the district's tie-breaker rule (goal differential).

The Tribe will host Henderson, the third place team out of District 15-4A at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. The Tribe also have a warm-up game scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Monday against Tyler High. That match will be played at The Historic Tomato Bowl.