Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Sports

March 28, 2014

Jackets face Arlington Heights in area playoffs

CLEBURNE — The Cleburne Yellow Jackets, fresh off a thrilling win over Arlington Seguin in the bidistrict playoffs on Tuesday, look to stay alive and advance past the area round of Class 4A playoffs against Fort Worth Arlington Heights at 8 p.m. tonight at Crowley High School.

Cleburne defeated Seguin in a penalty kick shootout after the two teams ended regulation and two overtime periods tied at 1. The Jackets came away with a 4-2 edge in penalty kicks to continue their season.

Cleburne now faces the second seeded team from District 14-4A, Arlington Heights, which beat OD Wyatt, 2-0, in bidistrict playoffs on Tuesday.

“We haven’t gotten to see too much of Arlington Heights,” Cleburne Coach William Walker said. “We’ve seen some game film of them. They’re pretty comparable. It’s hard to tell when you look at a team and see scores that they have against teams like Alvarado, who we’ve played. If you just look at the scores, it’s relatively comparable in terms of what our scores would be like versus theirs against common opponents.”

One issue facing the Jackets is the health of Ronald Cabello and Saul Ruiz, both of whom were injured in the first half against Seguin and were unable to return to action. Walker said Cabello and Ruiz have improved slowly over the past couple of days and he hopes to have them back for tonight’s game.

“We’re hoping another day of rest [on Thursday] will get them to where they can at least play at some kind of percentage above 50 percent,” he said. “At least it’s not the kind of injury where something is twisted or torn up. It’s just whether they can get it loosened up enough to be mobile and endure the pain. We’re hoping they’ll be ready to go.”

Cabello and Ruiz are two of the Jackets’ leading goal scorers and assist guys, and after losing them against Seguin, Walker had to work some magic with his lineup and rotation, and if Cabello and Ruiz are unable to go or limited, Walker said he’d do more of the same against Heights.

“We’ll kind of do a little bit more of the same of what we did [in the second half against Seguin],” he said. “I’m basically using depth from guys from different position. Fortunately, the guys are pretty flexible and a lot of them can play different positions, so as long as I can rotate them around to keep people fresh, it’ll be fine.

“After I put Zane Horton up at center forward the other night, that really helped us because he started stretching their defense a little bit with his speed. It’s not something we’ve done a whole lot this year, but it provides something different and he can give us a little burst up top. We’re not too worried about it because our attack has been spread out this year anyway with 13 different guys scoring goals for us. There’s no telling who’s going to get one any given night.”

Walker said he feels the Jackets will have the advantage in the midfield and should have speed on their side, too.

“I know they’ve got some height up top,” Walker said. “They’ve got a big, tall No. 10, a left footer, that they get the ball to a lot. I think our strength, especially if we get Saul Ruiz back, will be in the midfield. I think we might hold the advantage there in terms of possession in the midfield. And hopefully we can get behind them with our speed. We’re feeling pretty good about our chances.”

In their bidistrict win, Seguin came out as the aggressor as the Cougars dominated ball possession in the first half. Walker said he doesn’t expect that to happen this time around.

“I think there is some relief from the guys just due to the fact we got past the first round, because that’s been a stumbling block the last few seasons and it seemed to be a hurdle they were nervous about getting past,” Walker said. “I’m hoping we’ll come out a little more relaxed this game in the beginning because I thought we played pretty timid for the first 25 or 30 minutes and just let Seguin really come at us hard and we had to fend off their attack for a while. I’m hoping we’ll settle down sooner and get into our attack earlier this game because a little of that anxiety is let go now.”

Cleburne and Seguin are scheduled to do battle at 8 p.m. tonight from Crowley High School. The winner faces the winner of Diamond Hill-Jarvis and Mansfield Summit in the sectional round of Class 4A playoffs.

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