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Hays High soccer falls to Dodge

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

Trailing 2-0 late in the second half to visiting Dodge City on Thursday, the Hays High School boys' soccer team still had a chance to make it a game. But what happened over the final minutes showed a team that wasn't willing to fight back.

"It was obvious that we gave up," Hays High senior Lane Clark said. "We could have come back. It just seemed like everybody's head was down. We need to pick ourselves up in those situations."

Dodge City (7-0, 2-0 Western Athletic Conference) scored three goals in the final six minutes to beat the Indians 5-0 in their home opener. Most of the late goals came against the ghost of an Indian defense that had been playing well most of the game.

Hays High (2-4, 0-2 WAC) gave up a goal to Dodge City's Brandon Chavez in the 11th minute, one of the few scoring opportunities the Demons had in the first half going against a stiff wind.

"We were frustrated in the first half," Dodge City coach Charles Johnson said. "Their defense was shutting us down pretty well. We aren't used to that. We usually shoot quite a bit."

That same wind played to Hays High's advantage in the first half. The Indians had more than their share of opportunities to score, with Clark and junior Nathan Romme frequently getting the ball deep into the Demon's side of the field.

But for whatever reason, the Indians couldn't finish an attack, and trailed 1-0 at halftime.

"We didn't take advantage of our chances and they did," first year Hays High coach Saul Hernandez said. "We should have taken more shots. We didn't do that and it hurt us in the second half playing against the wind."

The Demons struck less than four minutes into the second half, a long shot from the left side of the field by sophomore Leonel Lopez that gave Dodge City a 2-0 lead.

With confidence waning and the wind playing against them, the Indians weren't able to muster much in the way of good attacks in the second half. Despite this, there was still a chance for Hays High if it could get some momentum going.

Instead, it looked like the Indians quit playing. Dodge City goals by Mario Lopez and Isaac Palma put the game well out of reach, and Isaiahs De La Torre added a fifth goal with 32 seconds to play for good measure.

"There were some definite chances that Hays opened up for themselves, but our defense doesn't give up until that ball crosses the line," Johnson said. "They worked really hard for themselves, but I'll credit my defense. They've only given up two goals all season. They just lay it all on the line for each other."

Hernandez was openly disappointed about the finish to Thursday's game, but has seen enough from his team to be optimistic. Trailing 3-0 in the second half to Great Bend on Monday in its WAC opener, Hays High showed it had fight and battled to the end, getting one of the goals back.

And for nearly 70 minutes against Dodge City, the Indians competed very well. But to reach the next level, Hernandez would like to see a full 80-minute effort.

"I do think they lacked that intensity that they had toward the end of the Great Bend game," Hernandez said. "We played with (Dodge City) for some time. That shows that we can compete with the other WAC teams if we play with intensity the whole game."

The Indians will get another go at Great Bend on Tuesday, when the Panthers visit Hays High for a 4 p.m. matchup.