Another meeting between Tyler Junior College and San Jacinto. Another instant classic.
For the fifth time in seven years, the Apaches and Coyotes weren’t able to settle the Region XIV title in regulation. TJC’s Sammy Deing scored with 5:09 left in double overtime for a 1-0 win Saturday at Pat Hartley Field.
“It’s always going to be a great game in the regional final,” Apaches coach Steve Clements said.
TJC (16-1-2), the two-time defending national champion, advances to meet the Region 23 winner in the district final this week. The match will be held in Mississippi.
Deing’s goal capped a game in which San Jacinto repeatedly rotated players to disrupt the flow. He scored it on a cross pass from teammate Oneil Fisher, setting off a celebration for the Apaches.
“We had been very patient, and the goal came,” Deing said.
TJC outshot San Jacinto 7-3 for the game and 3-1 in corner kicks. Apaches goalkeeper Chris McGaughey registered the team’s 14th shutout of the season, a day after outlasting Lon Morris 1-0 in overtime in the regional semifinals.
“Anytime you win the game in the second overtime there’s a lot of excitement,” Clements said. “It’s an exciting way to win a game and I’m awfully proud for the guys. They’ve worked hard this year and I hope we can keep it going.”
It was the third meeting of the year between TJC and San Jacinto. The Apaches won the previous two, 3-1 and 2-0.
“It’s a great rivalry,” said Clements, whose team has a 10-game winning streak in the series. “It’s two very good teams that go after it every year. It’s just a shame that one gets eliminated, because our region has put people in the national final the last three years.
“So one good team always stays at the house. I hate the way that it’s set up because that’s a good team that could compete nationally.”
The TJC women play Navarro at 5 p.m. today at Pat Hartley in the regional final.