Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s David Salas sends a penalty kick into the right side of the net to tie Friday’s match at one during a 4-4 tie with Bullard.
Despite not holding a lead all match, the Madera South Stallions boys soccer team needed a goal by a freshman to keep its County/Metro Athletic Conference title hopes alive against the Bullard-Fresno Knights.
Freshman Raul Arzola scored the game-tying goal a minute after Bullard took a 4-3 lead and with about 15 seconds left in regulation Friday to force a 4-4 tie two days after defeating Madera.
“We knew coming into the game, Bullard, no matter how their season was going, when it comes to the CMAC, they came out to play,” head coach Enrique Garcia said. “We know they are going to come in hard and physical. I heard from other coaches. These boys came to play, too. We fought back after every single goal they scored. We came back even harder, stronger and clawed our way back to tie the game.”
The Knights jumped out to the lead four times, but the Stallions clawed their way back to tie the score each time and forced the tie after both teams went scoreless in overtime. The tie extended Madera South’s home unbeaten streak to 23 matches.
“The boys understand that 22 unbeaten games at home is something that is pushing their drive,” Garcia said. “They knew, no matter, until the final whistle, they have a chance. Put the ball in the air and just fight for every play. That’s exactly what happened today.”
Bullard scored in the second, 35th, 65th and 78th minute. However, Madera South scored in the ninth minute, 48th, 74th and 79th minute to preserve the tie.
The Knights got on the scoreboard in the second minute of the match off a corner kick. The Knights’ corner kick went to the face of the goal, bounced over the head of goalkeeper Luis Segura and into the net for the lead.
In the ninth minute, Madera South drew a foul inside the Bullard goalkeeper’s box, resulting in a penalty kick. David Salas stepped up and hit a shot to the right side of the net to tie the score.
In the 15th minute, David Vasquez got a breakaway for the Stallions. He dribbled a bit too hard and the ball went to the Bullard goalkeeper. In the 20th minute, Vasquez got the ball on the right, stepped in front of a defender and took the ball to the goalkeeper’s box. His shot on goal was stopped.
In the 27th minute, Arzola and Vasquez played give-and-go. Arzola found Vasquez in the middle, who sent it back to the right for Arzola, whose shot hit the outside of the net on the right.
Three minutes later, Madera South drew a free kick just outside the goalkeeper’s box, but the kick went into the Knights’ wall.
Bullard got on the scoreboard in the 35th minute. The Knights’ attacker got the ball by a defender and an oncoming Segura. Bullard shot the ball by Segura and into the empty net for a 2-1 lead.
Madera South scored on its first chance in the second half. Christian Meza got the ball on the left. He beat a defender and got in front of him. Meza shot by the oncoming goalkeeper inside the far post to tie the match at two.
Four minutes later, Meza got the ball on the left. He dribbled once, got an open shot, but hit the ball over the crossbar.
On the counterattack, Bullard got the ball in front. Segura came out to defend, but Bullard’s shot went over the crossbar.
In the 22nd minute, Meza sent a long ball to Vasquez in front of the net. He settled the ball and sent a shot to the keeper for the save.
Bullard took its third lead of the match in the 25th minute. The Bullard attacker seemed to have slipped on the turf, but Madera South was called for a foul. The Knights lined up for a free kick from about 20 yards out in the middle. Bullard sent a free kick into the right side of the net for the goal and a 3-2 lead.
Segura kept the Stallions in the match in the 32nd minute. The Knights got the ball on the left and crossed to the backside. Segura came across and made a sprawling save on a shot to keep the Stallions within one.
Madera South went on the attack two minutes later. On a long ball to the front, Maciel, with a defender on him, fought for the ball. The ball got touched to the goal, by the oncoming keeper and into the empty net to tie the match at three.
In the 38th minute, on a Madera South throw-in, the ball popped out to the front. Aaron Ocegueda’s quick shot on goal went wide.
The Knights went on the counter and took the lead. Bullard got the ball on the left and shot on goal. Segura made the save, but a Bullard attacker got a step on a Stallions’ defender on the backside and slotted the ball under a diving Segura for the lead with about 1:30 left in the match.
Madera South quickly went to work. With about 30 seconds left, on a free kick, Ocegueda sent a ball to the front of the goal. The ball was headed up and Arzola came in and headed the ball past an oncoming, leaping Bullard keeper and into the back of the net to tie the score at four.
“We knew the clock was short and we had to get it to the front as soon as we could,” Garcia said. “Maybe a little luck but it was in the right place at the right time with wanting to put the ball away. Raul, being a freshman, had the composure to see the keeper come out and he chipped the ball over his head. It was beautiful.”
Three minutes into the first half of overtime, Madera got a shot from Javier Buenrostro. The ball went through the goalkeeper’s hands and out of bounds. The ensuing corner kick was cleared out.
In the third minute of the second half of overtime, Bullard got the ball to the front of the goal. A Madera South defender knocked the ball free and Segura covered it up for the save.
Madera South had one more chance on goal with two minutes left in the match. Macias, on the left, shot on goal, but it was blocked out. A Madera South return shot on goal went over the crossbar and the teams finished tied at four.