Gonzalez’s late goal bails out Seahawks from flat effort

Published 9:48 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017

CHOCOWINITY — Southside came out flat against a Hertford County team it beat 4-0 on the road last week. Coach Jay Petty said his team largely stayed that way, but Eduardo Gonzalez’s goal in the 75th minute ensured the Seahawks would pick up their fifth-straight win anyways.

Gonzalez found himself with time and space on the left side of the penalty area. He stopped, looked up and pinpointed a shot into the top-right corner of the net. It gave Southside a 4-3 lead with five minutes to play, all but sealing the win.

“We started flat and stayed flat the entire game,” Petty said. “We beat this team 4-0 the first time, and I think they had it in their heads that this would be a cakewalk. We played that way all night long. No intensity.

“… One thing I’ve always been proud of, and it was similar of the players last year, is that they won’t quit. They won’t give up until it’s over. They won’t stop. They will keep going and play that way.”

The Seahawks were slow out of the gate. They were without Santiago Serralde, who ran with the cross-country team earlier Wednesday. They also lost junior Owen Perry to a knee injury during warm ups.

The result was Hertford County striking within the first three minutes. It was a wake-up call for a Southside defense that has notched three shutouts during its hot streak.

“The last time we gave up three goals in a game was the second game of the season. We hadn’t done it since,” Petty said. “We just kept letting them stay in it. … It wasn’t characteristic of us.”

Jario Juarez leveled the game in the ninth minute when he broke in alone down the left wing. His speed gave him just enough space to dink the ball past the visiting goalkeeper, who came out to make a play, and into the far side of the net.

It took just another seven minutes for the Seahawks to get their first lead of the game. Senior Remington Huggins finished a bang-bang play when he got a centering pass from Jaime Guzman and buried it.

Juarez made it 3-1 with a carbon copy of his first goal. Once again, he rumbled down the wing, past defenders, and beat the opposing keeper one-on-one.

“They stayed at it until the very end,” Petty said.

Hertford County scored late in the first half to cut its deficit in half, then found twine again 12 minutes into the second. Southside had its chances to pull away, but couldn’t finish until Gonzalez’s late goal.

The Seahawks look to make it six in a row at home against Greene Central on Thursday.