WICHITA FALLS — Denton forward Feliciano Amaya’s memories of last season’s playoff letdown have been eating at him. So after scoring in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs and adding two goals Thursday against Wichita Falls Hirschi in Denton’s 5-0 area-round victory, he feels like he’s got the monkey off his back.
“It feels really good because last year I messed up on a lot of opportunities that cost us the game, so this year scoring in each playoff game feels really good,” Amaya said. “We work really hard in practice. We just need to keep building off that momentum. We know we can go far, and we’re going to bring it to whoever’s in our way.”
After defeating Saginaw 2-0 on Tuesday in Flower Mound in the bi-district round, the Broncos (10-8-5) flipped a coin for chance to host at Bronco Field.
Despite losing the toss, the Broncos were unfazed by the travel to Memorial Stadium and will move on to face Azle or Wichita Falls Rider in the sectional round next week.
Despite its scoring outburst against District 9-4A’s Hirschi (7-11-1), Denton coach Scott Heffley thought his team played better against Saginaw.
“Getting the second seed in our district put us in the position that we wanted to be,” Heffley said. “With respect to the teams that we got to face, it was a good draw for us because I think we matched up well against the teams and it sort of played out that way. Nevertheless, I thought we played better against Saginaw than we did today and I never really felt comfortable.”
Jose Herrera got the scoring started when his long run was rewarded with a stretch pass by Braeden Petrie. Herrera chipped a rolling shot past the oncoming Hirschi goalkeeper to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.
Amaya took a Michael Husbands pass at the top of the box, made a deft move to the inside and ripped a low shot into the right corner of the goal with eight minutes left in the first half, giving Denton a 2-0 lead.
“He’s a guy that we’ve grown to depend on, and he’s one of those players that we feel that we can rely on game in and game out,” Heffley said of Amaya. “You tie that in with his natural ability and his speed, it always gives us that attacking threat, and today we really needed that. His goals definitely helped us breathe a little easier.”
Petrie picked up his second assist on Amaya’s second goal. Amaya got lost in Hirschi’s back-row defense, settled the pass and sent a low shot into the left side of the goal for a 3-0 advantage in the 58th minute.
Three minutes later, Zach Alspach gathered a pass in the right side of the box and sent a low shot inside the left post for a 4-0 lead.
Diego Gonzalez’s turnaround shot gave the Broncos the 5-0 lead with eight minutes left.
“We created a lot more opportunities than our opponent, and yet we didn’t finish a lot of them,” Heffley said. “We got the result, but if we play a team that can get as many as us, it can come back to bite us.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.