Tigers fall to Wildcats in shootout

The Tiger’s first scrimmage comes down to penalty kicks


Truth Dukes

Senior Jackson Haltom walks off field as Paris celebrates their victory. The Tigers lost to Paris 3-4 Monday, Dec. 12, 2022.

Story by Jackson Haltom, Staff Writer

In the season opener for the Texas High Boys Soccer team, the game is neck and neck until the clock ticks down to the last 10 minutes, senior Jackson Haltom sets the ball on the 40 yard line. In the midst of madness, Haltom drives the ball, flying in the mist, as it finds the head of junior Angel Rameriez as he flicks it past the keeper into the back of the net, for his debut varsity goal.

Going into the game, Texas High knew the challenge they were facing against last year’s district champions, Paris, who finished off last year with a record of 22-1. The game started well for the Tigers as they kept possession for most of the half. 

The Wildcats were surprised by Texas High’s new formation, but quickly adjusted as fans could see in their attacking identities. During these fierceful attacks, the Tigers backline stayed strong, composed and organized with back side pressure from the wing backs which is a new look for their formation.

As the game progressed, tempers flared, legs wore out and fans roared louder. Towards the end of the first half, Texas High’s head coach Zak McCarthy received a red card for equipment issues which threw the Tigers momentum off. McCarthy wasn’t the only one receiving cards, as three other players gained cards forcing Texas High to play smarter and safer.

The second half opened with a costly foul from the Wildcats giving sophomore Fransisco Perez the opportunity to capitalize. Taking the penalty, the keeper reacted quickly and saved the bottom left shot.

As tension grew, so did Paris’s attacks. The Wildcats gained more possession with lots of pace with their attacks. Texas High’s defense responded and continued to hold up strong against an angry Paris front.

The Tigers recover the ball late in the game and senior Luckey Abhulimen takes matters into his own hands. He dribbles the ball all the way, entering the attacking third,  he’s met with a Paris midfielder, he goes down being fouled and receiving a free kick in the 80th minute of the game.

The ball was put on the 40 yard line as Haltom sent a line drive pass to Ramirez, who headed it into the goal to put them ahead late in the game. 

“It meant a lot to me because it was my first varsity game and varsity start, and I was excited that I was able to help out my team in a big moment.” forward Ramirez said. 

As the Tigers were on their high horse, they found themselves falling apart not even four minutes later, Paris midfielder received the ball off of a deflection and found a large gap in Texas High’s backline, driving through, finding space and finding the goal. Paris responds, and the score is tied. 

After regulation time ended, the score remained tied, and the game went to penalties. The Tigers started slowly, missing their first two penalties. The Wildcats capitalized, making the score 0-2. 

Junior Mason Miller stepped up and buried the ball in the net making the score 1-2. Senior goalkeeper Matthew Delk saved the next penalty giving the Tigers an opportunity to equalize, and so they did with Ramirez placing his shot right down the middle, making the score tied. 

Paris responds quickly with a 3-4 score. With a chance to keep the game alive, Haltom lines up to take the penalty, and the Wildcats seal the game with a save.

The final result ended in a tie, but the Tigers were still proud of their performance given the opponent’s reputation.