CHS BOYS SOCCER: Cavemen score late to turn back Cats

CNJ staff

CARLSBAD — Carlsbad’s Justin Johnson knocked home a shot from about 30 yards out with 5:25 left in the match to lift the Cavemen to a 3-2 victory over Clovis High on Saturday in a District 4-5A boys soccer match.

Carlsbad (13-5, 3-0 district) had seen a 2-0 lead disappear when the Wildcats scored twice in a span of three minutes to pull even.

Jesus Loya put the Cats (12-5-1, 0-3) on the board in the 67th minute when he headed a ball into the net past Carlsbad goalkeeper Jamin Daly. The play started with a corner kick taken by Angel Fernandez.

Then, Luis Esparza scored with 9:18 left in the match to tie it before Johnson put Carlsbad back in front for good.

CHS boys coach Shaun Gill said the Cats had some opportunities to tie it up again in the final couple of minutes, but Daly was equal to the task.
“We had our chances,” Gill said. “We were attacking and trying to stick one in the net.”

It was the second meeting for the teams in four days. Carlsbad got two second-half goals from Wes Burnett, including one late in the match, to pull out a 2-1 win over the Cats on Wednesday in Clovis.

“The guys played really hard; they played a good ballgame,” Gill said. “Just like on Wednesday, Carlsbad converted on a couple of our defensive mistakes.”

Burnett gave the Cavemen the lead in the 11th minute when he scored an unassisted goal. The 1-0 lead held up until Gage Bickerstaff gave the Cavemen a two-goal advantage.

Gill said his squad can still catch Hobbs and earn the district’s second automatic bid to Class 5A postseason play. But in order to do it, they’ll have to beat Hobbs by at least two goals when the teams meet on Oct. 24 in Hobbs, and have the Eagles lose at Carlsbad on Tuesday.

“We’ve given ourselves the opportunity to win in every (district) ballgame,” Gill said. “I feel bad for the kids because they’re playing their guts out and not quite getting it done.”

The Cats are idle until the Hobbs match. They will finish the regular season at Artesia on Oct. 28.

In Saturday’s junior varsity preliminary, the Cavemen handed Clovis a 2-0 loss.