Kelley beats East Central for second straight year
— 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.