STOCKTON — It is never over until it is over.
Just ask the Weston Ranch boys soccer team.
With the host Cougars nursing a one-goal lead over Lathrop in second-half stoppage time, a whistle stopped play and confusion ensued when play resumed.
With the Spartans anticipating anything but a free kick, that is exactly what happened. Lathrop’s Jesus Gomez got a cross to Victor Enriquez. A scramble ensued for the ball and Miguel Chavez ended up blasting it into the net to tie the game at 1-1 with seconds remaining in what turned out to be a 1-1 Valley Oak League tie at Weston Ranch High.
“There was a scramble at the end,” Chavez said. “Nacho (Gomez) got a good cross from the middle and after the scramble I got lucky and put in the rebound.”
Spartans coach Alfredo Reynaga was pleased with the effort put forth by Lathrop (0-1-1 VOL, 4-4-2 overall).
“They kept fighting and I am really proud of them,” Reynaga said. “I couldn’t be any more proud of them because the keep fighting to the end. That’s a good thing.
“We have a lot of heart and there’s a lot of talent. We tried to push through to get our first “W” of the season but Weston Ranch is a heck of a team so we got lucky today. We got lucky with a draw.”
Cougars coach Francisco Cisneros was puzzled with the final moments of the game.
“There was some confusion at the end,” Cisneros said. “We thought we had possession of the ball and it was going to be a drop kick or at least a restart, but somehow they ended up with a free kick.”
Out of nine Weston Ranch shots on goal, Lathrop goalie Jefrey Raduales stopped eight.
“But when you let so many get away you know it’s going to come back to haunt you,” Cisneros said. “We had four or five clear shots on goal earlier and we shut have put them away.
“You have to give Lathrop credit for keeping at it and coming back.”
The Cougars (0-0-2, 2-4-5) got on the board 10 minutes into the game when Ariel Silva fired in a rebound for a 1-0 lead.
“It came out from a corner kick by Robert Gonzalez and went to Jesus Vega,” Diaz said. “Vega tried to make the shot and it deflected off of a Lathrop player and it went to me.
“I focused on the goal and right away I put it in the net.”
Francisco Vega had eight saves for Weston Ranch.
Weston Ranch 1,
Antonio Rodriguez had the goal for the Cougars on an assist from Elvin Bolanos and the Spartans scored on a free kick from Jose Luis Herrer.
Both goals were scored in the first half.