MILTON-FREEWATER - The rain poured down and the visting team, the Roosevelt Roughriders, took the early lead against the Mac-Hi Pioneers boys soccer team here Tuesday night at Shockman Field, 1-0, just nine minutes into the contest.
The goal was scored on a cross from David Seraya to Patrick Jeschke.
"After that first goal," Mac-Hi forward Oscar Flores said, "I was like, ‘Oh man, this can't be my last game for Mac-Hi.' But our team stuck together, played together, communicated and rallied to beat them. That is why we are so good."
The Pioneers showed just how good they are by taking the 6-2 Oregon Class 4A playoff victory.
It took Mac-Hi 14 minutes to answer the goal by Roosevelt.
Jose Herrera dribbled into the middle around two Roughrider defenders, took a difficult angle and booted the ball past a diving Roosevelt keeper, Fili Quezada.
"The goal by Herrera gave us our confidence back, got us to relax and not feel like we were under such pressure," Mac-Hi coach Jose Garcia said.
The score at halftime was 1-1, but the Pioneers outshot Roosevelt in the first half 15-3.
"We started out really bad," Garcia said. "I told the guys that this was going to be a tough game and that the first play-in game was nothing compared to this first-round game. Roosevelt had a good regular season record at 10-1-4, and I tried to get the guys ready for this tough match-up. They finally listened and figured out their strengths and weaknesses. Then we started attacking and attacking and were victorious."
The first second-half Mac-Hi goal was on a powerful header slammed into the net by Flores on a corner kick by Johnny Trevino.
The third Pioneer goal was on another header by Flores, this one delivered by Roberto Sandoval.
The Roughriders responded with a goal of its own to pull within 3-2.
A Roosevelt penalty kick by Seraya to Jeschke, who headed it in, bounced to him after Roosevelt's Dadia Fofanah missed the first chance at heading the ball.
Sandoval then hit Flores again from the right side on a corner. Flores flew above everyone else and knocked it in over the goalie's head with a header. The score was 4-2 with 11 minutes remaining in the game.
"Those serves by our corner kickers were amazing and right on target," Garcia said. "It didn't happen by luck, we are good."
"During the season I was missing all my headers," Flores said. "Then we did some drills and have been working on them. Now I'm making them in the playoffs. They were marking me and I was running and rubbing off my defenders on one of my teammates to get open for the header shots."
A final and fourth goal by Flores was shot from about 35 yards away with 45 seconds remaining, which soared clear of the goalie into the right-hand side of the net for Mac-Hi's sixth goal of the game.
"I was thinking, ‘Let me try this shot,'" Flores said. "And I didn't think I'd even reach the goal, but it went in."
Mac-Hi had to get creative with its shots because "I think Roosevelt was guarding the goal," Garcia said. "Really loading up on defense and it turned out to be a mistake because they only scored two goals to our six."
In the game, Mac-Hi put up 25 shots, 11 on-goal. The Roughriders had five shots, one on-goal.
"Everybody did well," Garcia said. "I was proud of how hard we fought back, never gave up and supported each other."
The Pioneers play again Saturday in a state playoffs quarterfinal match against an undefeated team in Yamhill-Carlton/Gaston at Shockman Field, time to-be-announced. Yamhill advanced out of the first round by beating Ontario, 2-1, Tuesday night.