Everything went the Hawks' way in Delhi's league opener against Southern Athletic League rivals Denair High Tuesday, with the end result a 6-1 win.
“I feel in this game, the guys actually clicked and we were playing a pretty good game,” said Delhi head coach Armando Salazar. “Much respect to Denair, but I feel they are young, younger than us at least ,but I hope this is a sign for us with what is coming up.”
Expectations for a rival game are always more intense than any other regular match but the Hawks of Delhi came out on a surge in their first league game against Denair blasting the game wide open with four first half goals.
Denair buckled down in the second half, but their offense could not hold on to the ball for very long under constant pressure from the Hawks.
“Delhi just moved the ball well all game long and we were caught chasing it the entire time,” said Denair head coach Paul Oei. “It was hard to connect passes and find momentum because they did well pressuring us and when we lost it they did a great job getting around us and we didn’t transition well.”
Delhi’s Ivan Ramirez and Jorge Aguilar would each notch two of the team's six goals.
Aguilar also accounted for one of the assists in a game where he wanted his team to be recognized.
“Technically, I did want to make a statement and I know the guys did as well,” said Aguilar. “It was a tough game but it wasn’t just me it was our entire team that did well ... we put in the effort and won the game, which is what is important.”
Delhi’s Mario Moran found Aguilar open for the first goal of the contest after less than 10 minutes into the game.
Less than five minutes after, Denair’s Isaac Starks shot a near perfect strike at the net but the ball ricochet off the top post and clanked off.
Aguilar struck the net for his second goal at about the 20th minute after hitting a shot from 20 yards as the ball went through the hands of Denair’s Kyle Cervantes to put the Hawks up 3-0 by that point.
Ramirez found the net after a penalty kick just before the first half ended to go up 4-0.
“A lot of Delhi’s goals in the first half came from our lack of marking or ball watching,” said Oei. “At halftime I told them we need to make sure when their guys come down the line we know what is in our surroundings and mark up tighter.”
“Hopefully, the guys understand that this is how we want them to play and they will play like this next time,” Salazar said about their first league win. “I think our guys know that this is the beginning of league so we must step it up a little bit and that is what happened.”
Denair’s only goal came in the final five minutes of play when junior Edwin Flores found the back of the net with a shot from about 14 yards out, but by this point it was too late for a comeback.
The Hawks of Delhi (5-4 overall , 1-0 SAL)will travel to Ripon to take on the Ripon Christian Knights in a SAL bout with the game scheduled to begin at 4p.m. on Thursday.
Denair (4-3 overall, 0-1 SAL) will continue their league play with a big matchup at Mariposa against the Grizzlies with the game set to begin at 4 p.m. Thursday.