Martin Melchor drove a header into the net, from about 10 yards out, right side, with 15 seconds to play in regulation to give Jacksonville a 2-1 win over Bryan Rudder Friday night at Wildcat Stadium in Palestine.
The win advances the Tribe (20-6-3) into a Class 4A, Region III Quarterfinal test against Waller early next week (details forthcoming). That match is tentatively set for Tuesday.
Waller defeated Magnolia West, also by a 2-1 margin, on Friday.
The Tribe scored first when Allan Lopez deposited the ball into the twine from close range with 27:30 left in the first half.
That was all the scoring until the 6:02 mark of the opening period.
At that time the Rangers' Eleazar Hernandez took advantage of a couple of the Tribe's defenders being out of position by booting in what turned out to be Rudder's only score of the evening.
The match stayed tied, 1-1, until Melchor, one of eight Jacksonville seniors, worked his magic to avoid the match going into extended play.
Jon Perez earned the assist on the play.
“I wanted to do whatever it took for us to win,” Melchor said. “I was set up perfectly to try to score with the header and it was just a matter if I could get it past their keeper.”
Jacksonville tallied 23 shots on goal to 10 by Rudder, but the Ranger defense did a good job of keeping the barrage of Indian shots out of the net.
The Tribe's Jorge Arredondo made seven saves on the night to get the win in goal.
The Indian victory was Jacksonville head boy's soccer coach Randy Hammontree's 100th triumph at Jacksonville. Hammontree is in his sixth season in charge of the Tribe soccer program.
Hammontree's charges celebrated the fete by dumping a cooler of ice water on him following the post game hand shakes.