Happy Dobie players and coaches pose for photos following their tie with Deer Park on Tuesday night. The three-finger gestures represent three straight district titles for the Longhorns.
DEER PARK -- It wasn’t exactly the way you would expect a soccer team to react to a shootout loss. There were hugs. And high-fives. And an ice-water bath for the coach.
For the Dobie boys team on Tuesday night, it wasn’t the shootout against Deer Park that mattered. What mattered was the 1-1 tie at the end of 80 minutes of regulation play at Abshier Stadium. That tie was all the Longhorns needed to clinch their third straight district championship and keep alive a now epic streak of invincibility.
With just three-and-a-half minutes left in regulation, Dobie’s celebration as District 22-6A's best team appeared to be headed for a delay -- and the Longhorns’ streak of not having lost a district game since 2014 appeared to be doomed.
Then, with 3:27 on the clock, Dobie senior Andy Garcia rammed home a penalty kick to offset Deer Park’s only goal, scored just 12 minutes earlier.
The Deer won the ensuing shootout, 3-1, but the happy Longhorns were oblivious to that outcome.
The one point gleaned from the shootout loss was all that Dobie needed to clinch its third district title in the past three years. The Longhorns now own a 9-0-3 district record – and an insurmountable 31 points – with just two matches left in the regular season.
Just as importantly to Coach Justo Manrique and his players, the tie extended Dobie’s streak of consecutive district games without a loss to 45. The Longhorns have not lost a district contest since falling to Sam Rayburn on March 18, 2014.
After a scoreless first half, Dobie appeared to break the ice with a goal at the 22:10 mark of the second half, but a foul and yellow card handed to Alejandro Flores negated the score.
First-goal honors went to the Deer seven minutes later when Christopher Loza deflected a free kick into the net. A dozen minutes later, Garcia answered and the Longhorns gleefully bled off the remaining time.
Manrique’s club is now 14-1-4 for the season with games remaining at La Porte on Friday and against Memorial next Monday.
Dobie goal-keeper Ramon Cahue makes a key save in closing seconds of regulation.
Dobie's Andy Garcia makes the Longhorns' only penalty kick during the shootout. Garcia earlier made the penalty kick that tied the game at 1-1.
The Longhorns' Bryan Nava launches a shot on goal during first-half action. Deer Park's Christopher Loza defends.
Deer Park's David Mendez (11) and Dobie's Andy Garcia (7) battle for possession of the ball.
Dobie's Kevin Hernandez (14) tries to cut off Deer Park's Anthony Sandoval.
Dobie's Raul Hernandez (22) and Deer Park's Luis Medrano (6) close in on the ball near midfield.
Dobie's Hernandez gets between Deer Park's Herson Sandoval and Anthony Sandoval in pursuit of the ball.
Dobie Coach Justo Manrique puts his fingers to work -- one hand signaling three district titles and the other flashing Hook 'em Horns -- after getting an ice-water bath from his players.