It’s not often that Hilmar and Delhi High square off in any sport since they are in different leagues, but everyone caught a glimpse of the friendly down-the-road rivalry when the varsity boys soccer teams squared off from the Yellowjackets home field on Tuesday afternoon.
An exciting matchup for both schools, especially after meeting the previous season, both managed to play a game that saw momentum swings on multiple occasions with goals, but when the final whistle blew each side had to stay content with the 1-1 draw.
“I don’t know if we started nervous but the first 10 minutes they were attacking. I noticed all they really had as a threat were the forwards. That is what they were banking on,” said Delhi head coach Armando Salazar. “Once our kids got confident, then we started passing it and playing the ball and made it our game.”
“The first 10 minutes we should have put two away, it was harder to miss them than to make them. We should have put them away there, but that is how the game goes sometimes,” said Hilmar head coach Louie Bettencourt.
Delhi is 2-2-2 and started 2-0 in the Southern League after two games, while Hilmar concludes non-conference play and goes to 3-8-1 for the year so far.
Both earned a berth in the postseason just a year ago in the Sac Joaquin Section Division VI bracket.
They squared off last season back on Dec. 20, 2016, which ended in a 3-2 win for Delhi. This time things were closer.
Delhi took three early shots in the first five minutes, but the tables were turned soon after.
Hilmar looked like they were at the right place in the opening seven minutes when Bryan Millan drew out the defenders and goalkeeper then Alex Maldonado sailed an open net shot over the post.
For the remainder of the first half, Delhi managed to control possession time and went on the attack on Hilmar’s side of the field.
Each side went into the half tied, after a scoreless first half at 0-0.
“I was happy with the way we were passing the ball and we just need to work on our finishing, but other than that I think we had a good game,” said Salazar. “The second half we put in our bench and you could see the difference, but not as much as we thought it was going to be.”
Millan of Hilmar broke the game wide open after scoring at the 44th minute from about 12-yards out. He ran into the penalty area from about 15 yards out then took an outside step and drilled a left heel shot into the near corner for the 1-0 lead.
“They still need to settle in a little bit but they are doing a great job,” said Bettencourt. “They need to learn how to play the ball and know when to attack the ball. They forget to defend, you have to defend then attack, but they are all getting it we just played a lot of teams in a higher division than us and it brings the best out of us.”
The stalemate continued and the opportunities only continued to pile on until 23 minutes later when Delhi’s Erik Serrano tied the game at the 67-minute mark after he powered in a header off a corner kick to make it 1-1 as the sun began to set.
“Throughout the game we had some chances, just getting that goal at that time, the kids got reenergized and put extra life in our team and we missed some and they did too, but I thought it was a good game overall,” said Salazar.
Delhi will next take on Livingston at home at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Hilmar will next host Mountain House at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 8.