By CARLOS GONZALES
Special to the PRESS
Both teams relied heavily on their defensive efforts the entire game, but it did eventually lead to a shoot-out in which the Mercedes Tigers edged the Tarpons with a final score of 2-1.
With neither team giving up a goal, by halftime the score remained at a 0-0 tie, and it remained this way until the final minutes of the game.
With about seven minutes left in the match, Jesus Martinez was finally able to put in the first goal all night and gave the Port Isabel Tarpons the lead, 1-0. The Tarpons switched their game play to a more defensive look to keep the lead alive. But with 1:50 left of play Mercedes answered Port Isabel with a goal of its own, tying the game and now going into overtime.
Heading into the extra period, both teams seemed to take a more offensive approach and fought hard to keep their chances alive. Fatigue also struck both teams as the game was stopped numerous times due to injuries and exhaustion. During these timeouts were the only times the players could catch their breath and get a little hydrated.
The game went on into double overtime, and because neither defense wanted to give up a goal, the match was settled by a shoot-out. Five players from each team participated in the shoot-out, but only one player from Mercedes was able to score a goal, giving the Tigers the 4A Bi-District title.
The Tarpons had one last chance, only to be short just inches away from the goal as the Tiger goalie leaped for the ball and stopped it right on the goal line, thus ending Port Isabel’s season.