Smith-Cotton advanced in the Class 1, District 11 for a shot at its second district title in three years Monday, defeating host team Jefferson City 1-0 at Eddie Horn Field.
With both Tigers on the run, Alex Esquivel redirected a running Jordan Lawson pass through the Jefferson City back line to score in the 16th minute.
Esquivel said he and Lawson have practiced Monday’s scoring play before.
“Whenever (Lawson) came across and made that outside run, I knew that ball was coming in, and I knew I could get on it,” Esquivel said. “That was just a great ball by Jordan, I was just lucky to be on the end of it.”
Colby Edgar performed a jumping save on a Jays corner kick 20 minutes into the first half. Smith-Cotton out-shot Jefferson City 6-3 in the first half.
The Jays came up empty after a string of corner kicks in the opening minutes of the first half. Another frenzied attack in the final minute of the match led to two corner kicks in 30 seconds. The final corner landed on top of the S-C goal, running out the final seconds of the match.
Smith-Cotton goalkeeper Colby Edgar said the Tigers’ defensive gameplan broke down in the second half.
“The plan was, we were supposed to get the ball and bring it up the sides, because they weren’t pressuring the sides,” Edgar said. “We didn’t do what we were supposed to do in the second half, but we still came out with the win.”
Offensively, the Tigers were also held in check in the second period. Esquivel said Jefferson City adjusted to the Smith-Cotton attack.
“It looked like they kind of matched what we were doing in the first half,” Esquivel said. “We were playing similar styles … Late in the game, you’re always trying to play more defensive, trying to keep a lead. I think we did great. That’s a great win right there.”
The Tigers (17-4-1) face Rock Bridge 6 p.m. Wednesday in Jefferson City. The Bruins (15-6-2) defeated Hickman 2-1 in two overtime periods Monday.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2