Cougars takedown Jags for spot in Sweet 16

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EDINBURG The Edinburg North Cougars scored four first-half goals during a 4-1 takedown of Edinburg Economedes in a Region IV-6A quarterfinal playoff matchup Tuesday at Richard R. Flores Stadium.

The Cougars (13-7) advance to this weekend’s Region IV-6A tournament in San Antonio to face the winner of Austin Westlake and San Antonio Johnson. It’ll be Edinburg North’s first regional tourney appearance since 2017.

Edinburg North’s Jesus Martinez (9) yells in celebration after his goal against Edinburg Economedes in a Region IV-6A quarterfinal game at Richard R. Flores Stadium on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

The Jaguars’ season comes to an end at 13-12-2 overall.

“This has been a process where everybody had the same faith. We all worked together for the same purpose and right now reflects that,” Edinburg North head coach Elias Moran said. “We’ve dreamed about this since 2017. Year after year, we worked so hard and we failed many times, but it’s about persistence. It’s about resilience, never giving up and always trying your best.

We came out with a good energy, a lot of intensity and never gave it up. We closed the game early and in the second half, it was about control. We’re so blessed to be back in San Antonio for the second time.”

North’s Jacob Roman helped get the scoring started with a pair of corner kicks into the box that were hammered home on headers by Erick Gonzalez during the eighth minute and Kenneth Reyes in the 16th for a 2-0 lead.

Edinburg North’s Erick Gonzalez (2) heads the ball in a Region IV-6A quarterfinal game against Edinburg Economedes at Richard R. Flores Stadium on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

The Cougars kept their foot on the gas as Jesus Martinez outmuscled a Jaguars defender to win the ball and create a 1-on-1 opportunity with the goalie for an easy score to make it 3-0 North in the 21st minute.

“It was a lot of sweat, hours of practice, injuries, a lot of time spent together so we can get to the regional tournament,” Martinez said.

Edinburg Economedes cut into the North lead on a Bryan Garcia penalty kick during the 26th minute to make it 3-1. The Cougars wasted no time in responding as Martinez scored his second goal of the first half just seconds later, still in the 26th, to push the game back to a three-goal advantage for North.

Edinburg North’s Adrian Alvarez (1) sends the ball back into play in a Region IV-6A quarterfinal game against Edinburg Economedes at Richard R. Flores Stadium on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

The Cougars stayed in control in the second half and goalie Adrian Alvarez made multiple saves to squash any hopes of a Jaguars comeback.

“I always tell my players to put their mind in the present and they’re trained to overcome any adversity we may face in the game,” Moran said. “When they got that goal against us, it was adversity, so we reset and it was time for us to counter. We’re not going to allow them or give them space to get motivated. We needed to attack and that’s what we did.”

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