AZLE – There were glimpses of this year's district champion Rams soccer team on Tuesday night.
For a 30-plus minute stretch in the second half, led by sophomore forward Marvin Renteria's team-leading 17th goal of the year, the Rams outplayed the Eagles.
But a pair of Argyle goals in the first 10 minutes, four in the first half, and multiple red cards proved too much to overcome for the Rams in a 5-1 UIL Area Playoff loss.
“We played a better second half, even playing a man down,” Rams head coach Rolando Borjon said.
“We got down in a 2-0 hole early, and against a team like Argyle it's hard to come out of that,” he said. “That two weeks off kind of threw us for a loop, but proud of the boys because they accomplished some great things this season.”
Within the first minute of Tuesday's match, the Rams faced a 1-0 deficit after a free kick set up Argyle senior Carter Dodson with a well-timed header in the box.
The senior would go onto have a career day for the Eagles with four goals, three of them in the first half. In the 10th minute, Dodson connected on a second header after a Tyler DeBruin free kick to make it 2-0.
The senior then made it 4-0 Eagles, after teammate Connor Webster deflected a ball in front of the Ram net, before capping the Argyle scoring effort at five with his fourth goal late in the second half.
Rams keeper Cody Oakland slowed down the onslaught with 10 saves in the first half before leaving due to injury. Fellow keeper Miguel Hidalgo allowed one goal on eight saves in the second half.
Sophomore Cristian Narvaez had the only Rams assist, while Renteria led with three shots. Rams Julian Avila and Diego Andrade finished with two and one shots, respectively.
“We only have two seniors graduating, Isaac Gray and Josue Valle, and they'll be hard to replace,” Borjon said. “I wish it ended differently and we came out stronger in the first 10 minutes, but that's part of soccer.”
Despite a second-straight District 6-4A championship after a five-game winning streak to finish the regular season, the Rams head home with a 13-8-2 record.
Meanwhile, the Argyle Eagles (16-5-2) advance to the regional quarterfinals to take on the winner of Wichita Falls-Hirschi and Kennedale.
“You win some, you lose some,” said Borjon. “Only thing you can do is learn from it and get ready for next season.”