Robert E. Lee goalkeeper Anthony Pirtle saved his best game of the season for when the Red Raiders needed it most.
The junior made 12 saves while also denying a penalty kick as REL defeated district-leading Mesquite 1-0 Tuesday at Red Raider Field. The win gives REL a 6-4-1 record and 20 points in District 11-6A. Thanks to Longview’s 1-0 loss to North Mesquite, it also moved the Red Raiders over Longview into third place in the league standings.
“We told him (Pirtle) afterwards that we would’ve given him a game ball if we had one,” REL coach Marty Germany said of his keeper. “Tonight we called on him to make more big saves than we like to, and he was up to the task.”
Even with the loss, Mesquite remains atop the league with 23 points.
Pirtle kept the game scoreless in the first half when Mesquite was awarded a penalty kick. On the attempt, Pirtle dove to his left to block the shot.
Lee took the lead eight minutes into the second half. Edgar Sanchez played a ball forward toward the middle that eluded Mesquite’s central defender. That left a footrace between Lee’s Isaac Olivares and Mesquite’s onrushing goalkeeper.
Olivares won it and was able to poke the ball by the keeper and watch it roll into an empty net.
Germany said the rest of the half was mainly spent holding on to the 1-0 advantage.
“We did a lot of defending, especially in the last 15 minutes,” Germany said. “They (Mesquite) are a good team.”
In other scores Tuesday, Rockwall defeated Mesquite Horn 3-1 to remain in second place and Rockwall-Heath topped John Tyler, 5-0.