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Denton downs Saginaw 3-1, nears district title

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Denton downs Saginaw 3-1, nears district title

Senior Braeden Petrie chases past a Rough Rider defender during the Broncos' win Monday vs . Saginaw.

Senior Braeden Petrie chases past a Rough Rider defender during the Broncos' win Monday vs . Saginaw.

Photo by: Daniel Ryan Carr

Senior Braeden Petrie chases past a Rough Rider defender during the Broncos' win Monday vs . Saginaw.

Photo by: Daniel Ryan Carr

Photo by: Daniel Ryan Carr

Senior Braeden Petrie chases past a Rough Rider defender during the Broncos' win Monday vs . Saginaw.

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Denton is one step closer to being crowned District 5-5A champions after defeating visiting Saginaw 3-1 in their penultimate regular season game Monday. The win at Bronco Field keeps Wichita Falls at bay, with the gap between first and second place remaining three points leading up to their matchup next Monday.

After attempts at attack went unfulfilled for the first 18 minutes, the Broncos scored the 22nd minute. Senior Zach Ardis delivered a corner that came in low and bounced off of a head directly to senior Zach Alspach, who headed it off the bottom of the crossbar and over senior keeper Luis Balderas. They struck again a minute later, when junior Wes Kohler crossed to senior Feliciano Amaya; Amaya buried the shot and made the lead 2-0.

Senior keeper Christian Rodriguez was only called upon to make a save once in the first half, when a Saginaw set piece went over the heads of every Rough Rider in the area but came a bit too close for comfort for Rodriguez, who poked it over the bar. It was Saginaw’s lone corner of the opening 40 minutes.

“We maintained possession of the ball,” head coach Ryan Dunlevy said. “Whenever we maintain possession of the ball, our defense doesn’t have to do quite as much.”

Denton’s attack continued into the second half, though they could not find the back of the net. Roughly halfway through the period, Dunlevy pulled a number of his regulars, including Rodriguez, and shortly after, Saginaw senior Alex Ibarra drilled a shot from over 30 yards out that found its way into the bottom left corner of the goal, cutting the deficit to one. Rodriguez returned to the net.

We don’t dial back. We go. We win. That’s our goal every game, to come out and win, and I’m not going to change that just because we don’t have to have a win to clinch district,”

— Ryan Dunlevy, Head Men's Soccer Coach

In the 71st minute, the Broncos effectively sealed the three points when senior Chris Torres scored a long-distance goal of his own. The score remained 3-1 until the final buzzer.

While satisfied with the three points, Dunlevy feels that his team could have gotten more out of the game: of Denton’s 14 unblocked shots, only five were on goal.

“We should have capitalized on some of our opportunities that we did not capitalize on,” Dunlevy said. “That’s an area that we need to make sure we improve on before we get to playoffs, because we may not get that many opportunities in playoff games. When we do get opportunities, we need to make sure that we put those away.”

Saginaw (5-12-1, 4-9-0 in District 5-5A, 12 points) returns home for their senior night against Brewer (8-9-1, 3-9-1, 10 points) next Monday. Brewer lost 5-3 to Azle Monday and trails Saginaw by two points, though the result will have no impact on the playoff picture, as both were eliminated from contention earlier this season.

The Broncos (16-2-3, 11-1-1, 34 points) get a week off before hosting the second place Coyotes (14-5-3, 10-2-1, 31 points), who still sit just three points back. Wichita Falls is coming off of a 2-0 win over last-place Chisholm Trail. Though Denton can lose by as many as three goals and still clinch the District 5-5A title, Dunlevy said the team won’t hold anything back.

“We don’t dial back,” Dunlevy said. “We go. We win. That’s our goal every game, to come out and win, and I’m not going to change that just because we don’t have to have a win to clinch district.”

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