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Wildcats fall in regional semifinal to Panther Creek, 2-1

Apr. 6—TYLER- The Palestine Wildcats soccer season came to an end at CHRISTUS/Mother Frances Rose Stadium Friday, falling to the Frisco Panther Creek Panthers in overtime of the 4A-Region 2 regional semifinal, 2-1.

The Wildcats opened the scoring early in the first half, as Tony Sanchez netted the lone Wildcats goal off a Reece Garcia cross in the 10th minute, placing Palestine in the lead for the first and final time of the match.

Panther Creek evened the score late in the first half, with Panther Creek captain Griffin Shelley posting the equalizing goal off a corner kick from a teammate.

The second half turned physical, as both teams fought constantly for positioning, and looking to take advantage of any mistakes. Seven yellow cards were issued in the second half of play, four to Panther Creek and three to Palestine. Panther Creek was also issued one red card.

After neither team was able to take advantage of good scoring chances throughout the second half, the teams moved into overtime. In high school soccer, teams play two 10-minute halves, and if no winner is determined, the teams move to a sudden death shootout.

It seemed as though the Panthers and Wildcats were on a crash course for a shootout, but the Panthers had other plans.

After a Wildcat penalty deep in their own territory, Panther Creek's Jonathan Martinez stepped up for a free kick, and sent the ball into the back of the Palestine net, giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead with only four minutes remaining in overtime.

Palestine never gave up, and fought furiously for the final four minutes of play, but the damage was done. The Panthers claimed victory by the slim one-goal margin.

Palestine ended their season 24-5 overall, and claimed their eighth Area Championship in program history.

Senior Wildcats graduating with the class of 2024 include Cruz Villanueva, Ricoh Avila, Diego Oliva, Divine Amoke and Cash Hernandez. In their four years, the Wildcats have posted a record of 99-16-3.