Before the Broncos’ final game of the season, Denton coach Scott Heffley envisioned a senior-night offensive shakeup to help give the playoff-bound Broncos more of a scoring spark.
What Heffley got was a firestorm of goals from a wide array of Broncos as they torched Lake Dallas 8-0 on Friday night at Bronco Field to send his team into the playoffs with a three-game winning streak.
It’s been six years since Denton felt the playoff heat, but this season’s squad is igniting at the right time.
“It’s nice to get back into the playoffs,” Heffley said. “We are just fighting to get back to where we once were. For our boys, it has been a while, but it couldn’t happen to a better bunch of men. These boys have had a little bit extra that allowed them to get the result that in the past we haven’t been able to get. This is our first playoff [appearance] in six years and we are hoping it’s one of many to come.”
Juan Vargas, one of four seniors, led the Denton attack as the only multiple-goal scorer with two, while junior Christian Carranza, who co-led the team with four shots, scored and dished out two assists.
“He’s stepped up with goals for us, but he’s not usually on the tail end of it,” Heffley said of the outside midfielder Vargas. “For him to get two tonight was great because it shows we have other players that can step up and get goals. It was even more special that it is his senior year and that we were playing on our home field for the last time this season.”
Sophomore Feliciano Amaya, who scored the Broncos’ game-winning goal that handed Trophy Club Nelson its only district loss of the season on March 8, also scored for the Broncos, while Chris Torres, Diego Gonzales, Jose Herrera and Page Chandler each tallied.
“There were some pairs that we like and even on some of the times where we weren’t successful getting the goal, but we were getting opportunities and that’s what we were looking for,” Heffley said when asked about the changes up front. “Feliciano Amaya is typically the guy we start up top and we typically put Chris Torres with him. I thought Diego Gonzales did a good job, and Christian Rodriguez, even though he got called offside a couple of times, was right there on the doorstep.”
For senior captain Tyler Proffitt, Friday’s shutout was an opportunity to prove his team was no flickering flameout.
“To me it doesn’t matter who scored, we just got the job done,” Proffitt said. “We did what we had to do to win, and we wanted to prove we deserved to be in the playoffs. There are no limits as to how far we can go. The plan is for the last game to be the best.”
With the team’s plan for the last game to be the best looking accurate on Friday, Proffitt still thinks there is room for improvement, despite the Broncos lighting up the scoreboard with eight goals.
“This wasn’t our best game,” Proffitt said. “The playoffs will be our best game. Our players were just in the right position. We moved the ball around and took their players out of the game. We had players in the right position and that’s pretty much what did it.”
It was the usual suspects for the Broncos that got the fire started as Amaya lit the first match by scoring just over a minute into the game, taking a pass that bounced through two Falcons defenders and sending it quickly on goal off the Lake Dallas goalie’s hands and into upper portion of the goal for the speedy 1-0 advantage.
Torres put Denton ahead 2-0 in the 12th minute as he secured a ball in the middle of the field from 35 yards out and lifted a shot into the top right of the cage, past the frozen Lake Dallas goalkeeper.
Vargas scored the first of his two goals in the 28th minute off a fracas in front of the Lake Dallas goal as Josh Harden’s header rainbowed over the Falcons’ goalie, off the right post and back into the mass of bodies where the oncoming Vargas buried it into the gaping net to make it 3-0.
With 6:32 remaining in the half, Herrera caught the ball in the offensive zone, danced away from a Lake Dallas defender with a series of dribbles to get into an open pocket of the defense where he ripped a low shot that burned through the goalie’s hands and trickled across the goal line to give the Broncos a four-goal lead heading into the half.
The goals kept coming in the second half as the Broncos scored on their second penalty shot of the game, the first of which was missed by Proffitt. Chandler chipped his shot into the right side of the net for the easy goal.
Gonzales’ header off the left post in the 56th minute brought the score to 6-0, and Vargas notched his second of the game in the 60th minute as he worked around the outside of the Lake Dallas defense to blast a shot past the frozen goalie.
Carranza added the final goal of the night off a crossing pass in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the game.
Denton (9-9-0, 6-4) will open the playoffs against top-seeded Aledo at Northwest High School on at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .