E.A. Sports Today

Oxford repeats

Yellow Jackets repeat as county boys champions, blank top-seeded Saks and former coach 2-0 in finals

Oxford striker Misa Reyes (11) scored both of the Yellow Jackets’ goals in the title match and was named tournament MVP. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — Even as if he felt the sting of defeat Saks soccer coach Dwight McDonald managed to make the classiest move of the tournament.

McDonald’s old team, Oxford, blanked his new team, undefeated top-seeded Saks, 2-0, Saturday in the Calhoun County boys soccer tournament title match.

Saks coach Dwight McDonald spent seven years at Oxford, coaching all the players who played against his team Saturday. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

The significance of the matchup wasn’t lost on him and when it was over and both teams collected their hardware he called both teams together for a very special memory.

“We’re gonna take (a picture) with the teams all together,” he said after tournament officials handed the Yellow Jackets the championship trophy. “I built this team. C’mon.”

Indeed. McDonald coached the Jackets for seven years before leaving for an assistant principal’s job in Birmingham. That was only away one year and was back in Calhoun County coaching soccer.

Before he left, he coached “every last one” of the Oxford players who played against him Saturday night and two years ago projected the seniors in that lineup were “going to be the best group at Oxford.” He started Misa Reyes as a seventh-grader and two years ago the striker responded with 44 goals.

Reyes scored both goals Saturday against his old coach — both in the first half — and was named tournament MVP.

“I’m happy for Oxford because they have some good kids over there and a lot of those kids I’ve seen them as seventh graders,” McDonald said. “I’m happy for them, but, then, I’m sad for my guys. This is a tough loss, 13-1 is tough, but … I am proud of the guys because they fought as well as they could.”

Reyes called McDonald’s gesture of bringing the teams together for a picture a “very special moment.” Beating his old coach, he said, was both a little sour and a little sweet.
Sour for sending the coach who developed him into the player he is today to defeat for the first time this season, but sweet for the championship it brought.
Reyes opened the scoring when he completed a run with 29:38 left in the first half. He scored a “surprising” second goal with 6:16 left on a ball he thought was headed to the top corner but was deflected down in the box.
“Misa’s a great player, he plays really well; he’s a great attacking option,” Oxford coach Aaron Barrett said. “At striker people feel like all you have to do is score goals, but you still have to make the runs, too.
“Misa has a great mind. He understands the role of striker very well. That’s where he excels over most strikers. Not only does he have the ability, he has the mindset and the intelligence to do the position right.”
The Yellow Jackets came into the tournament as the No. 3 seed and with only two wins at the time of the seeding meeting, but they won three games this weekend with seven goals and two shutouts. Keeper Jorge Olmos-Lopez was the tournament’s outstanding defensive player.
“At the end of the day I thought we always knew we were the best team in the county,” Barrett said. “Your record doesn’t show what kind of team you actually are. The teams you play and how you play them and how you overcome adversity that makes a team I guess a champion now that we’ve won it.
“That’s what I’ve been trying to preach to them for the last two years. We’ve got to play the tough opposition. You want to win trophies and that’s what we’re here to do. Now we’ve done it on the county level, now we’ve got to try to do it on the state level. We have to take on this and build off of it.”

Oxford keeper Jorge Olmos-Lopez (R) turns back another Saks shot while defenders Jose Garcia (24), Raul Perez (9) and Alex Romero have his back. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

John Hernandez-Cruz, Oxford
Sergio Rudeas, Oxford
Raul Jimenez, Oxford
Tysean White, Saks
Javier Castillo, Saks
Zach Gattrell, Faith Christian
Kevin Escareno, Anniston
Tim Weng, Sacred Heart
Donovan Baca, Weaver
Davis King, Jacksonville
Yash Patel, Donoho
Layton Cheatwood, White Plains
Outstanding offensive player: Jahir Rodriguez, Saks.
Outstanding defensive player: Jorge Olmos-Lopez, Oxford
Most valuable player: Misa Reyes, Oxford

Here’s the combo team picture Saks coach Dwight McDonald (far left) wanted to get with the Wildcats and Oxford, a team he coached for seven years.

To see more photos from the match visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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