E.A. Sports Today

Taking on the teacher

Soccer: Saks coach takes one from a mentor; Oxford falls to Fort Payne on penalty kick

Saks’ Diego Chavero (11) pushes the ball between two Weaver defenders towards the goal Thursday.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jerrell Burns credits Weaver coach Jamie Clendenin among the many who have helped him get a grasp of the subtleties of coaching soccer. On Thursday, the student beat the teacher.

Freshman Jahir Ortiz-Rodriguez enjoyed the first two-goal game of his career and Ty Willis and Tra Huguley combined for the shutout in Saks’ 2-0 matinee victory over the Bearcats.

“This was a big win because that’s one of my mentors right there,” Burns said. “When Jamie was at Oxford, he and Coach (Dwight) McDonald, they taught me the game. Him and Coach Vic (Saks assistant Victor Luna), they played together coming up. It’s kind of one big family.”

Ortiz-Rodriguez scored his first goal of the game less than three minutes into the second half when he converted JaKorius Watkins’ pass after a long run down the left side. He scored his second goal with 23 seconds to play after Weaver keeper Matt Elston couldn’t get back in position after punting the ball clear.

“It was very amazing,” Ortiz-Rodriquez said. “I’ve never done it before (score twice in a game), so it’s the first time for something and I wish I can do it again.”

Saks, playing its first full season of soccer, improved to 5-1-3. Weaver, a first-year program, fell to 2-7.

Weaver won the girls game 7-0.

Fort Payne 2, Oxford 1: Dwight McDonald was proud his Yellow Jackets gave the third-ranked team in the state all it could handle for 80 minutes, but he was disappointed in the missed chances and inability to close.

The Yellow Jackets (12-2-0) lost for only the second time this season. Evan McPherson scored the game-winner on a penalty kick with 14:17 to play – just about two minutes after Oxford’s Alexis Fernandez tied the game with his own PK and gave the Yellow Jackets the momentum.

“I told these guys before the season started they don’t know their potential,” McDonald said. “We can compete with anybody in the state, I feel like, and we brought it to them.

“We just have to stay under control and keep playing because we had them on the ropes and had opportunities to tie the game and go into overtime. We’ve just got to finish. We’ve got time to grow. The second half of the season is going to get better.”

Oxford missed a golden opportunity to retie the game with 2:30 left when Fernandez shot wide from close range. The Yellow Jackets played the final 5:27 with 10 men due to a red card.

Fort Payne (12-3-0) broke a scoreless tie with 9:37 left in the first half when Jesus Lopez settled a ball in the box and blasted into the right-center of the cage.

Fernandez scored his tying PK after Misael Reyes was taken down in the box. McPherson scored his goal after Edgar Hernandez was fouled in the box.

Fort Payne won the girls game 6-0. Tori Wallace had a hat trick, Madi Clark scored twice and MacKenzie Taylor scored once. The Lady Wildcats fired 58 shots on goal.

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