WICHITA FALLS — Lake Dallas was glad to have the early lead Friday on a Carlos Zamora goal, but the Falcons knew their work was far from done.
Lake Dallas was facing a Wichita Falls team with a home crowd and a history of playoff comebacks, and the Falcons had already won two playoff matches by 3-2 margins.
Even 115 miles from home, the Falcons could see plenty of Lake Dallas green and gave their faithful a lot to cheer about. Zamora scored twice and Anthony Patti and Orlando Castro each netted one goal in a 4-2 victory in the Class 5A Region I semifinals at Memorial Stadium.
The Falcons (21-1-3) will play for the Region I championship at 10 a.m. Saturday against El Paso Bel Air, which defeated Burleson 3-1 to improve to 25-1.
“It was a team effort; we knew we could do this,” Zamora said, adding he’s proud to see his school putting everything toward a trip to state, adding that it’s different than just playing soccer for the sport.
“I’m proud of every single member of our team and the fans who supported,” he said. “I knew we could win this game. We’re in good shape.
“I’m thankful for our crowd here, and that gives us extra motivation to come out and play the way we did. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do this. They have heart for the shirt, for Lake Dallas High School. It’s incredible.”
Zamora’s ice breaker came in the 18th minute on a serve into the box from Castro. But Daniel Alvarez of the Coyotes knotted the match at 1 late in the first half.
“We have the mentality that we’re never going to quit no matter what the score is,” Lake Dallas coach Brandon Martin said. “We’re not going to stop attacking!”
Zamora landed the next strike in the 44th minute for a 2-1 lead, but Alvarez beat the keeper high for another equalizer about 100 seconds later.
The Falcons never took the foot off the gas, and Patti notched the winner in the 65th minute, finishing off a well-executed corner kick.
It was Patti’s second straight game winner and he drew a lot of Old High’s attention, but he again had lots of help.
“They’ve got four guys in the attack, and those guys score their chances,” Wichita Falls coach Patrick McCauley said.
It’s a luxury that Martin enjoys, knowing the opponent can’t just focus on one star.
“That’s something we work on in training — scoring off corners, scoring off crosses in the run of play, scoring off shots,” Martin said. “We’ve had a lot of fan support. The school has been amazing — the students and the faculty. It seemed like half the school wanted to come to the game, so we organized some buses and I think we had three or four full buses of kids.”
The Falcons are 80 minutes from having those folks figure out travel plans for the state tournament in Georgetown.
“We’re going to come out and play hard and play the way we’ve been playing and hopefully make it all the way to state,” Zamora said.
“We set out to go as far as we can go and do the best we can do each game,” Martin said. “They’re going to give their best, and that’s all I can ask for.”