JUSTIN — The Denton Broncos held the top-scoring team in District 12-4A scoreless through regulation while getting the better of the chances Tuesday night.
But in overtime, Denton’s defense sprung a costly leak, as Aledo’s Hunter Owens erupted for two goals in the first overtime session to help the Bearcats claim a 2-1 victory in the Class 4A Region I bi-district playoffs at Northwest ISD Stadium.
With just over four minutes left in the first overtime, Owens corraled a shot from 20 yards out and beat Denton goalkeeper Jonathan Penny low and to the left corner to end the scoring drought.
Less than two minutes later, Owens scored again as Penny came out to challenge. Owens was patient, walked around Penny and deposited the ball into the right side of the net past a Denton defender who was covering for Penny.
“We knew he was a fantastic player and that guy still found his way free,” Denton coach Scott Heffley said of Owens. “We dug in hard to keep them out, but give him credit. He kept fighting in space, and he had two opportunities we couldn’t block.”
Despite squandering several decent scoring opportunities throughout the game, the Broncos (9-10-0) remained resilient.
Denton captain Tyler Proffit scored with less than four minutes remaining in the second overtime to at least give his team a chance to tie it in the final minutes.
“We had to get some goals, and even in the second half I thought we pressured pretty well,” Heffley said. “Proffit has been in the situation and he made a good run. The goalkeeper came out, and he was composed over the ball. He pushed it by the keeper for the tap-in.”
Feliciano Amaya, the Broncos’ speedy go-to forward, nearly broke the Denton drought in the 55th minute with a long-distance shot at the top of the goal, but Aledo keeper Danny Smith made a leaping save to deflect the ball over the net.
Three minutes later, Amaya got a prime opportunity when an Aledo defender misplayed the ball and allowed Amaya in behind him.
Smith came out to challenge, and Amaya’s chip shot over him drifted left of the goal.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the effort the boys have shown this season and especially in the game,” Heffley said. “We came out and played as sharp as we ever played. I felt like, for big portions of the game, we controlled it.
“We were patient and we got out of trouble. In the second half, we came out a bit slow, but I thought we had them on their heels. We created opportunities that we bury on most nights, but tonight we didn’t finish them.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873.