Reservoir High School’s Debruyn Cedeno’s penetrating drive and score half way through the second half proved to be the game-winning goal under the lights at Hammond High School as the Gators came from behind Friday evening for a 2-1 victory against the HHS Golden Bears.
The Gator win snapped the Golden Bears’ three game winning streak. The visitors fired 12 shots on goal including Cedeno’s game winner. Cedeno advanced to the Hammond goal with some ball handling and nifty moves to break a 1-1 tie with 21 minutes and 17 seconds left to play.
“I felt like we had a couple of guys [defenders] get there a little bit late and drove in off-balance and gave him the avenue to cut and change direction,” Hammond coach Brett Cutler said of the game-deciding goal. “He had the momentum, and we sort of went in and gave him the path.”
The Bears played the majority of the first half without many offensive opportunities. Junior forward Anderson Mejia-Marroquin led a HHS rush during the first six minutes and senior Anthony Perez fired wide on a free kick chance 10 minutes into the match after repelling Gator offensive surges.
Perez got another scoring chance with 16 minutes left to play in the opening half. He buried a 21-yard penalty kick past Gator goal keeper Sean Foley for a 1-0 Hammond lead.
By halftime and the home team owning a 1-0 lead, the Bears had frustrated Reservoir’s corner and center to the goal strategy and forced the Gators into committing fouls for penalty kick chances in an intense, rough and tumble, physical match.
“We’re a very skilled team but we’re very young,” Gator coach Jason Hall said. “We got the goal we needed and got that second goal.”
The game-tying score occurred three and a half minutes into the second half on a rebound attempt from the RHS offense.
In the junior varsity match, Reservoir shut out Hammond 3-0.