Longhorns Take Third Place In Invitational

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Aaron Loeffler's sliding kick between a pair of Snowflake defenders lifted the Longhorns to a 2-1 victory over the Lobos and a third-place finish in the Pioneer Title Invitational Soccer Tournament.

On the stellar play, a Lobo defender collided with Loeffler, rendering the winning kick doubly tough.

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Brandon Moratti (#1) and a Sedona Scorpion team member battle for a loose ball during the Pioneer Title Invitational Soccer Tournament held Sept. 28 and 29 at Rumsey Park.

"Aaron charged the net after the ball was crossed," coach Chad Gower said. "I like Aaron up front in the center, because he is not afraid to push people around to get a goal."

In addition to Loeffler's heroics, the Horns received a rock solid performance from goalie Anthony Pearce, who was credited with saving 10 of 11 shot attempts.

The Horns entered the game, having lost and tied against Snowflake earlier this season.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game," Gower said. "We started the game with many opportunities to put the Lobos behind, but could not convert until Brandon Ford scored the first goal of the game."

Later in the clash, the Horns defense turned lackadaisical, which allowed the Lobos to score the game-tying goal.

Seeing that, Gower substituted liberally, including inserting Loeffler into the lineup.

"He went in the game and scored the winning goal," the coach said.

The senior was among the school's candidates for homecoming king and was riding in the parade.
Without Pearce,

Gower substituted Ben Rogers in at goalie.

"Ben played an excellent game and will do very well as a varsity player, after Anthony graduates this year," Gower said.

In the opening game of the tournament, the Horns survived over Valley Lutheran, 2-1.

"We came out real sluggish but ended up winning," Gower said.

David Hernandez and Gabriel Batista scored the Longhorns' goals.

After whipping VL and losing to Sedona, the Horns humbled Northland Prep 6-0.

"That game gave us time to have fun," Gower said.

In the win, Nic Creighton tallied a hat trick, scoring three goals. Hernandez had two and Batista one.

In the Horns' fourth tournament game, Payson survived 2-0 over a gritty St. Johns team.

"Again we struggled for the win," Gower said. "Gabriel Batista scored on a penalty kick to give us the boost we needed after a sloppy start."

Hernandez scored Payson's other two goals.

With the 3-1 record and a second place finish in "goals against" scoring by giving up just three, Payson earned the berth in battle for third place against Snowflake.

In the clash for first and second, Sedona edged Chino Valley 1-0.

Next up for the Horns is an Oct.6 visit to St. Michaels and an Oct. 10 jaunt to Snowflake.

The regular season wraps up Oct. 13 vs. Sedona and four days later against Holbrook. Both games are at Rumsey Park.

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