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Eagles clinch district title

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The Hobbs Eagles boys’ soccer team defeated Clovis 3-0 at Watson Memorial Stadium Saturday. The win extended Hobbs winning streak to five games and clinched the District 4-5A title for the Eagles.

“With this win we secured district,” said Hobbs head coach Jose Mares on winning the district title before finishing district play. “We still got to finish strong to hopefully make it into the top four, I think we have a very good chance.”

For the Eagles and Mares, winning district is a stepping-stone to achieving the main goal, the chance to play in the state championship game.

Clovis came into the game knowing it could postpone Hobbs’ celebration with a win, but the Eagles played with a purpose.

In the first 10 minutes of the first half the Eagles took a two-goal lead. They were awarded a penalty kick off a handball in the box after two minutes. Striker Keaton Hartman took the penalty and calmly placed a shot on the ground towards the right post, where the Clovis keeper could not reach it. Seven minutes after scoring on the penalty Hartman and midfielder Roger Villalobos connected on a give and go, freeing Villalobos to send a low shot past the left post and the keeper’s arm.

Clovis’ offense created only one dangerous chance to get back into the game in the second where they were able to get past Hobbs’ defenders, but keeper Christopher Terrazas came off his line to smother the ball. The Eagles went into halftime with a 2-0 lead.

The second half saw the game change as Clovis opened up going forward looking to score a goal to get back into the game. They created four scoring opportunities but were unlucky to put one in the back of the net. On two opportunities the Clovis forwards’ shots went wide right, a free kick that went straight to Terrazas hand, and a deflection that hit the crossbar that Hobbs then cleared.

“We are balanced team, we play good defense, great counter attack, great offense. Today we didn’t score as many goals as we should have but we didn’t allow any goals,” said Mares on how his team is built.

The Eagles showed their balance in the second half as they attacked Clovis with possession, long balls, and the counter attack. Much of the game was played on Clovis’ defensive side of the field. Hobbs created six clear opportunities and scored one.

Hartman had three opportunities, two went wide and one went straight to the keeper. A team effort saw them get to headers in the box only for the ball to hit a Clovis defender. With 10 minutes left on the clock defender Zach Zavala beat his defender, went into the box and sent a low shot past the keeper’s outreached arm and into the net for a 3-0 lead.

With a district title now secured the Eagles will look to finish district play on a high note and prepare to chase their main goal in the playoffs.

Both Villalobos and Hartman are confident the team is ready and excited for the playoffs to start and have that chance to play for and even win a championship.

“First goal is to see if we get a bye week in playoffs,” said Villalobos on what their goal is going forward. “Then after we pound to state.”

“It boost our confidence a lot,” Hartman added on winning district and looking forward to the playoffs. “We are back at the top once again and it feels like we could go further this year.”

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