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Wilkes Central High School Athletics

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Millers Creek thriller

MILLERS CREEK THRILLER

Pedro Cortez was a freshman the last time that West Wilkes beat Wilkes Central. On Monday night, Cortez, now a senior, scored a lovely goal in the 56th minute to give his Blackhawks a 2-1 lead against the Eagles. After 24 more hard-fought and scoreless minutes, the final whistle blew on the Blackhawks’ (1-7, 1-2) upset win in Millers Creek. “I got chills,” Cortez said about the end of the game. “The crowd was cheering us and the atmosphere was really great and that’s what I like. Senior year, against Central, that’s what I wanted to do — it was going through my head right after the game winner.” Making the moment even sweeter, the win officially gave the Blackhawks their first of the season. West Wilkes defeated North Wilkes earlier in the year but that game was forfeited due to the participation of an ineligible player. The game was also Wilkes Central’s (6-2-1, 2-1) first conference loss and just its second loss of the year. “That’s a very good team,” West Wilkes Head Coach Wesley Golds said. “That’s one of the best teams in the conference but that’s the first game all season that we brought the effort all 80 minutes and that made a difference. The guys in the back worked extremely hard and they faced a lot of pressure, especially in the last 10-15 minutes as they were pressing to try to get the equalizer. “And I’m just proud of my guys, they played hard.” Before the game started, things were already going wrong for the Eagles. Their bus broke down and the process of getting another one caused them to be late to the field. They arrived at 5:09 p.m. and the game started less than 10 minutes later. But shortly thereafter, the Eagles looked to be getting their footing. In the eighth minute — just 17 minutes after getting off the bus — Jack Prevette gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead off an assist from Luke Huffman. West Wilkes responded quickly though, as Noah Triplett slotted a shot low and left of a diving Michael Davis in the 12th minute to tie the score. “It was very important because if we had gone 10, 15, 20 more minutes down, they were getting some pressure — we finally got a good ball up to Noah who took care of it — but they could have put another in and it would have been 2-0,” Golds said about getting an equalizer in short order. “I hope we’d have the heart to fight, back but it would have been really tough.” The Blackhawks certainly had plenty of fight after drawing the game level and they kept the score there through halftime. After the break, West Wilkes came out as the aggressor and was ready to pull the trigger. For the half, the Blackhawks outshot the Eagles 15-11 and seven of those West Wilkes shots were on frame. And one of those shots was a show-stopping game-winner. Cortez was making a run down the left wing and made a move inside where he lofted a right-footed shot from just inside the 18-yard box. The ball found the top-right corner, just over the hands of Davis. “I’m thinking, ‘That a boy, finally,’ because a lot of times, Pedro likes to try to work hard to get the closest shot possible,” Golds said. ”I’ve been telling him to get a little greedy and he finally just took a shot. “And he just hit a good ball because Michael is the best keeper in the conference by far.” Wilkes Central pressed in the final 20 minutes of the game in the hopes of drawing level but the Blackhawk defense — often opting for clearing the ball as far as possible — kept them away. With just seven minutes left, West Wilkes’ Kevin Fuentes was shown a yellow card just outside of the 18, giving the Eagles a great look on the free kick. But Jesus Adan’s shot was collected easily by Tristan Clifton, one of his six saves in the game. “It’s just one of those days where everything went wrong,” Wilkes Central Head Coach Jim Caudill said. “But we didn’t show up to play and they just beat us to the ball, that’s as simple as it was. I don’t think there was very much quality soccer out there from what I saw. Like I just told the boys, it was a high-level middle school game where everybody is just kicking it and going to win games. “They got two balls in and we got one. We just got beat, simple enough.”

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