By TONY EIERDAM
Coming into Wednesday night’s District 12-4A match at Ram Stadium against Mineral Wells, the Saginaw Roughriders were undefeated in district with a 2-0-2 mark and probably were not expecting much resistance against the 0-4 Rams.
But playing easily their best district game of the season, the Mineral Wells Rams hung tough and gave Saginaw a scare before the Roughriders hung on for a 2-0 win Wednesday night at Ram Stadium.
The game was closer than the score indicated as Saginaw scored its second goal with 2:38 left to play.
The loss drops the Rams’ district mark to 0-5, while Saginaw moves to 3-0-2.
Rams head coach Rolando Borjon said he was proud of his young and inexperienced team and indicated that hard work brought them to the point of nearly recording an upset win.
“The guys took a big step (on Wednesday),” Borjon said. “The guys fought hard and played a very good game.
“We have been looking for this all year – playing a full game.
“The guys put in a lot of hard work in the past week, including when it was bad outside and we had to practice in the gym.
“The kids hung in there, and this is one of those years where we are trying new things to help make us stronger.”
Another bright spot was the play of goalkeeper Kelly Williams, who turned back several close-range stops for the match.
In the first half, Williams stopped what looked like a sure goal with a jump save just seven minutes into the contest, and midway through the first half in a span of two minutes he showed his athleticism with a pair of diving saves.
Instead of what could have been a 3-0 lead for Saginaw, the match remained scoreless.
Saginaw finally got one past the Rams’ goalkeeper with a goal on a header following a corner kick with 3:47 left in the half.
Williams kept the game close in the second half as he came up with a pair of brilliant diving saves at the 25:01 and 24:20 marks.
Perhaps Williams’ best save of the night came with 15:40 remaining and Saginaw still clinging to a 1-0 lead.
The Roughriders were awarded a free kick from about 30 yards out, and Williams jumped high and caught the offering to keep it a one-goal match.
Meanwhile, Saginaw’s offense kept possession of the ball in the MWHS defensive end for most of the second half, limiting the MWHS scoring chances and nearly eliminating anything in front of the goal.
With 2:38 left to play Saginaw sealed the win with a goal from inside the box.
“The adjustments we have made helped us stay in this game,” Borjon said. “Our defense showed up big, and Kelly (Williams) had a good night in goal by making some big saves.
“This year the team is a work in progress, and (Wednesday) they showed how their hard work is paying off,” Borjon said. “This game gives our young kids the confidence to know that they can hang with teams of this caliber.
“This was a positive step for our young team, and the future looks pretty bright.
“They can build on this effort.”
By TONY EIERDAM
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