Rojo-Trejo’s Second-Half Explosion Triggers Judges

Posted: May 13, 2016
Special to The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — After a dead-even first half, Handley forward Jesus Rojo-Trejo exploded for four second half goals to lead his Judges to a convincing 6-3 victory over James Wood on Thursday in boys’ soccer.

“I thought that we just had a bad first half,” Rojo-Trejo said. “We usually are able to finish teams off in the first half, but Wood really came to play today. We worked a lot harder in the second half.”

The win keeps Handley’s record perfect at 14-0, but as always when Wood (6-8) and the Judges scrap it wasn’t easy.

With the score tied 2-2 at halftime, and the Colonels playing right with their arch-rival, the Judges’ Jorge Cruz-Cruz and Hardel Santos-Sanchez used the sidelines to drive deep into the Colonels’ end of the field, setting up the finishing skills of Rojo-Trejo.

“We’re starting to come together, looking towards the postseason,” Handley coach Cosmo Balio said. “We were able to attack them almost at will on the flanks. That gave us a lot of deadly opportunities swatting the ball across to the back post.”

With that strategy working to perfection, it didn’t take long for Rojo-Trejo to make his presence felt.

Just three minutes into the second half, Rojo-Trejo weaved his way through three Wood defenders then launched a shot from 20 yards out that blew past Wood goalkeeper Cole Morris to break the tie.

“That’s my favorite shot,” Rojo-Trejo said. “I love to start out outside and maneuver the ball towards the middle of the field, then take the shot to the far post.”

Rojo-Trejo’s score was just the beginning of a dominant second half by Handley. The Judges outshot Wood 9-3 and forced Morris to make three difficult saves.

Rojo-Trejo struck again with 18 minutes left when fellow forward Seth Bridgeforth hit the Handley senior with a pass 10 yards from the Wood goal. Rojo-Trejo volleyed the ball past Morris to put the Judges up 4-2.

Playing with a desperation that resulted in three second-half yellow cards, the Colonels answered quickly when Hunter Hall volleyed the ball into the net just two minutes later.

But, Hall’s tally hardly slowed the Judges. Three minutes after Hall scored, Rojo-Trejo hammered a free kick from 30 yards out past Morris to put the Judges up 5-3.

Rojo-Trejo wasn’t finished. Taking a pass from Saber El-Abani at midfield, Rojo-Trejo broke loose and smashed the ball past Morris from 10 yards out.

“I got a great pass from Saber and I saw a little spot past the keeper and I put it in,” Rojo-Trejo said.

“I told our guys before the game that I wanted to see the fight in them,” Wood coach Brian Sullivan said. “I was really proud of our effort. We were really stretched out there. Most of our guys played a full 80 minutes. Handley has a lot of skill, and we were still in it at halftime, and we were still in it with 15 minutes left. But it was a hard fought game, and I think we ran out of gas late.”

The first half was nothing like the final 40 minutes as Wood came out and quickly took control. With just 2 1 / 2 minutes gone, Colonel forward Skyler Newlin beat three Handley defenders in the penalty area and blasted the ball past Judges keeper Haniel Lopez-Cajero from 15 yards out to give Wood a 1-0 lead.

“Handley is our biggest rival,” Colonel midfielder Aidan Houser said. “We were ready for them today. We were determined to give them their first loss. I thought we got tired towards the end and they were able to put some goals on us.”

“They really caught us flat with that first goal,” Balio said. “I don’t believe our keeper even saw the ball. Defensively, it wasn’t one of our best days. But we were able to attack them successfully. Bridgeforth and Rojo-Trejo played lights out.”

Handley answered three minutes later when Bridgeforth scored on a penalty kick.

The Judges took the lead with 32 minutes left in the first half on another Bridgeforth goal, scoring off a cross from Cruz-Cruz to put Handley up 2-1.

Wood tied the score 2-2 with 18:30 left in the half when fullback Jacob Parrish volleyed home a ricochet.


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