When the Jacksonville Fightin' Indian soccer club lines up against Salado's Eagles at 6:30 p.m. this evening at Tomato Bowl for a Class 4-A, Region III, Area soccer match, one would be hard pressed to find two teams with more experience.
The Eagles (17-4-1) are the District 34 champions.
The Salado roster contains a whopping 11 seniors, with most of those 12th-graders being major contributors on their team.
Salado blanked Mexia, 2-0, on Tuesday in bi-district play to earn the right to take on head coach Randy Hammontree's Tribesmen, who also passed their bi-district test in shutout fashion — Jacksonville eliminated Brenham from post season play by downing the Cubs, 5-0 on Tuesday night in Bryan.
The Tribe (18-6-3), the District 35-4A runner-ups, have eight seniors on the team and are lead by one of those upperclassmen, Martin (mar-TEEN) Melchor.
Melchor has 109-career goals, which is a school record, and he has signed with Coastal Carolina University (NCAA, Division I).
While Melchor is always a threat to score, he is by no means the only weapon that the Indians have.
Strong-legged Alberto Escareno can power the ball into the back of the twine with the best of them and Levi Santana and Pedro Mireless have both played well this season, especially late in the campaign.
Escareno, Santana and Mireless are also seniors.
Rounding out the list of Tribe players in their final season are, Ryan Travis, Misael Garcia, Cruz Rocha, and Jonathan Gonzales.
“We've been real fortunate to have so many seniors that not only have a lot of experience, but a lot of talent too,” Hammontree said. “It really gives us a lot of options to turn turn and that is always nice.”
While Brenham limited Melchor to two assists Tuesday, Mireless booted in a pair of goals and Santana added one, as both were able to take advantage of some opportunities that were created by the intense attention placed on Melchor.