Holtville's late goal downs Southwest
Holtville High's Fernando Leon (left) battles for the possession of the ball with Southwest High¿s Adrian Rodriguez during an Imperial Valley League game Tuesday in El Centro. (Fernando Acosta Jr.)
Lara was standing outside Southwest High’s goalkeeper box unmarked when he connected for a first-time shot off a ground cross to give the Vikings the eventual 2-1 Imperial Valley League win against the Eagles on Tuesday in El Centro.
“It was very important because we know they’re not at full strength so it was important to take advantage of this game, especially being at their home,” Holtville head coach Juan Arroyo said.
The Vikings played against an Eagles squad depleted with a handful of starters that were suspended for internal disciplinary reasons.
While the Vikings always have a squad smaller in numbers because of its school’s size, their teamwork allows them to match up against any squad.
“It’s always difficult for us because we’re a small school but we’re there, we’re still fighting,” Arroyo said.
With the first half of league season ending Tuesday, the battle for the league title is heating up between Holtville (5-1 IVL), Southwest (3-1-2) and Calexico High (4-0-2).
“We still have the second half, we’re still in the race,” Southwest head coach Rafael Contreras said. “The problem is that our players need to concentrate.”
The Vikings kicked off the scoring in the 17th minute of the first half with a goal by forward Erik Sierra with a shot to the upper corner of the far post.
Southwest tied it in the 31st minute of the same half when midfielder Jesus Rodriguez connected off a cross.
“We had a good game, the game was really close,” said Holtville goalkeeper Leo Simental who had his work cut out for him.
He blocked several shots from Southwest to help his Vikings get the eventual win.
“We have a lot of hopes to win the league championship,” Simental said. “This win gives us more hope.”
The Vikings will have another tough game Friday when they play at Calexico at 7 p.m. Southwest will look to rebound when it hosts Palo Verde Valley High at 7 p.m. Tuesday.