LaGrange wins on penalty kicks
Published 1:21 pm Friday, March 29, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
With one well-placed kick, LaGrange High’s Josue Recinos put an end to a dramatic, back-and-forth, thrilling soccer showdown at Callaway Stadium.
LaGrange and Cartersville were deadlocked 3-3 at the end of regulation, and each team scored one goal in the 15-minute overtime period.
That meant the game, and perhaps the Region 5-AAAA championship, was going to be determined by penalty kicks.
Each team would get five penalty kicks, and the team that made the most of them would get the victory.
After three successful attempts by his teammates, Recinos stepped up with an opportunity to provide the clinching goal.
Recinos knocked the ball into the back of the net, giving the Grangers the win, and setting off a raucous and well-deserved celebration on the field.
LaGrange improved to 5-0 in Region 5-AAAA, and it can clinch the region championship with a home win over Sandy Creek on April 12.
Cartersville, which won the region title a year ago, finished its region schedule with a 5-1 record.
The Grangers appeared as though they were going to win the game in overtime when John McDonald scored with 2:17 remaining.
With less than a minute left in overtime, though, Ricardo Torres hammered the ball home from about 30 yards out for the tying goal.
Neither team scored again in overtime, so it was on to penalty kicks.
Butler Evans, LaGrange’s goal keeper, made two massive and clutch saves to give LaGrange the upper-hand during the penalty kicks.
After Evans’ first save, Jimmy Cancino made his penalty kick to give LaGrange the lead.
Following another Evans save McDonald’s penalty kick was true, and LaGrange led 2-0.
Cartersville made its next kick to get on the board, but LaGrange clinched it with successful kicks by Harrison Hunnicutt and Recinos.
Cartersville took the lead 30 seconds into the game, and LaGrange answered less than three minutes later on a goal by Robert Reese.
LaGrange took the lead at the 25:42 mark of the first half when Winston Herrera’s free kick found the target from about 30 yards out.
Cartersville tied it with 8:15 to play in the half, and it was tied 2-2 at the break.
Recinos scored in the second half to give LaGrange the lead, but Cartersville tied it at 3-3 with 12:45 left in regulation, and that’s the way it remained until overtime.
OF NOTE: For more on the game, see Saturday’s sports section