Kelley beats East Cen­tral for sec­ond straight year

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS - BY JOHN TRANCHINA

— Even though it was the de­fend­ing cham­pion, Tulsa Bishop Kelley en­tered the Class 5A boys soc­cer state fi­nal on Sat­ur­day as the un­der­dog. Fac­ing a pre­vi­ously un­beaten op­po­nent, the Comets felt they had some­thing to prove and in the end, they com­pleted the mis­sion.

Se­bas­tian Estrada scored two goals, in­clud­ing the game-win­ner with 21:58 re­main­ing, to help lead Kelley to a 3-1 vic­tory over East Cen­tral at Memo­rial Sta­dium to win their sec­ond straight ti­tle and sev­enth over­all.

Jack Barkley also scored and Chris Ritchie con­trib­uted two as­sists for Kelley (17-2).

Af­ter los­ing a num­ber of dom­i­nant play­ers off of last sea­son’s team, the Comets were not con­sid­ered a sure thing to make it back to the state fi­nal, but they found their game and won their last 12 con­tests of the sea­son

“Af­ter we lost all those peo­ple, ev­ery­one was count­ing us out,” Estrada said.

“And we just wanted to come out and show ev­ery­body that we’re an amaz­ing team and we can work to­gether, and still be great and win the state cham­pi­onship again.”

Hec­tor Di­mas scored first in the 22nd minute for East Cen­tral (18-1), which had al­lowed just one goal in its pre­vi­ous nine games.

The Car­di­nals had lost four straight sea­sons in the state semi­fi­nals be­fore reach­ing the cham­pi­onship game for the first time last year.

“We just got beat, they were the bet­ter team tonight,” said East Cen­tral coach Con­nor Whitham.

“We just weren’t good enough. They de­served to win the game, so con­grats to them. We’re dis­ap­pointed, ob­vi­ously. You don’t go 18-0 and come this far to get beat in the cham­pi­onship game, but what can you do?”

The Comets re­sponded just 1:31 later. Ritchie hurled a throw-in from 35 yards up the right side­line into the box area, and Estrada knocked it home from 7 yards out to tie it.

East Cen­tral held a ter­ri­to­rial ad­van­tage for much of the first 15 min­utes of the sec­ond half, but then Estrada struck again in the 58th minute. A cor­ner kick by Ritchie ended up on Estrada’s foot and he popped it past Car­di­nal goal­keeper Jose Me­drano from 3 yards out.

Kelley con­trolled much of the play af­ter that.

Jack Barkley added an in­sur­ance goal with just 2:48 re­main­ing to seal the win for Kelley.

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