Everybody needs a vacation; some more than others.
Put Louie Bettencourt, Hilmar High’s boys soccer coach, in the latter category.
“We just didn’t play worth a darn today,” said Bettencourt, who admitted he was in particular need of a break after witnessing his talented squad’s abysmal performance Monday in a disappointing 4-3 loss to a less-talented Orestimba team.
The Warriors came into the game with a record (2-6-1) directly opposite of that of the now 6-3-1 Yellowjackets and scored four straight unanswered goals in dismantling a seemingly disinterested Hilmar squad that fell below .500 at 9-10-1 overall.
The good news is that Hilmar already has enough wins to clinch a spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs but the bad news came in bunches Monday.
“We should have beaten them,” said Bettencourt, pulling no punches. “I could feel it as soon as we walked on to the field. Our players had that deer-in-the-headlights look in their eyes. They didn’t come ready to play and they knew it. Then things just snow-balled.”
To make matters worse, Bettencourt learned two key starters were going to be lost for the season to grade problems, a gut punch to a team that has two Trans Valley League games left.
Fortunately for Bettencourt, there is an immediate solution to his personal woes.
“I’m going on vacation,” he said succinctly as he packed Monday night for a fun-in-the-sun trip to Cancun, which will force him to miss Hilmar’s Wednesday road game against Escalon. He will be back for the ‘Jackets’ regular-season finale at Ripon on Oct. 30. “I hope while I’m gone this loss and how badly we played turns the lights on for our players.
“It’s a good thing we’re already in the playoffs because the type of game we played today is the kind of game that knocks a team out of contention.”
Falling behind quickly 4-0, Hilmar waited until there were only 10 minutes remaining before finally putting together a three-goal rally only to come up short at game’s end due to three different missed shots on goal in one-on-one situations.
Leading scorer Osiris Guerrero broke free for the Yellowjackets’ first goal off an assist from senior captain Gabriel Texeira. The score was Guerrero’s 25th on the year in just 21 games.
Sophomore Jaime Munoz, one of the younger players who played well Wednesday, cut the deficit in half when he scored off of a nice pass from another senior captain, Andres Moran.
Taking advantage of a sweet pass from freshman Michael Cardoso, it was another sophomore standout, Adrian Yepez, who fired in Hilmar’s third goal to cut the deficit to 4-3. But that was as close as the hosts would come on a less-than-enthusiastic “Senior Day” on the pitch.
Cirilo Guillen played solid in goal toward game’s end and Bettencourt hopes this game can serve as a lightning rod for the rest of the season, which will last as long as the ‘Jackets’ players want it to last, said the Hilmar coach.
“I put it real plain to the kids after the game, ‘If you (veteran starters) don’t want to play, we will put in the younger players, even if it meets we’re not in the playoffs very long,’ “said Bettencourt as he finished packing for his much-awaited trip to Mexico.
“It will be very interesting to see how things unfold. I mean we just tied Riverbank, which shows you how good can be. But coaches can only do so much. It’s up to the players to play.”