By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
For Enid senior Edgar Delgadillo, tonight’s first-round Class 6A soccer playoff game at Owasso is personal.
Delgadillo still feels the pain of a 1-0 first-round playoff loss to the Rams two years ago as a sophomore when he was playing with a senior-laden team, including his brother Fernando.
“This is for Fernando and his buddies,’’ Delgadillo said. “I have a little extra motivation. I want to do it for the guys two years ago. If we win, I’m going to tell them, ‘We did it for you guys.’’’
The 2011 game was a scoreless tie until Owasso’s Kaspars Kokis drilled a shot from 25 yards out with eight minutes left.
“We were dominating so much (in the second half), it was such a heartbreaker,’’ said Enid coach Craig Liddell after the game.
Delgadillo hasn’t forgotten the pain.
“It hurt a lot,’’ he said. “We felt we could have gone a long way in the playoffs, we were that good (11-4, setting school record for number of wins in a season). We should have won.
“It’s just very special for me to play them a second time. I want to get back at them. Hopefully, it will go the other way this time.’’
Delgadillo and former Plainsman J.P. Maciel, another member of that team, talked with their teammates about that game.
“I feel a lot more sense of urgency,’’ Delgadillo said. “This is my last chance to do something about it.’’
Three other Plainsmen — Angel Chavez, Martin Gomez and Victor Hernandez were on the sidelines. Gomez saw some limited action.
“The boys are real excited and ready to get some revenge,’’ Liddell said.
The two teams have taken different roads to the playoffs.
Owasso, 8-0 and ranked No. 6, went undefeated in winning District 6A-3. The Rams have outscored opponents 34-2 with six shutouts.
Enid, 8-5 and ranked No. 10, had to win its last four games — including a 4-3 upset of Jenks — to finish fourth in District 6A-4 and punch its ticket to the postseason.
“We have the confidence that we can beat anybody,’’ Delgadillo said. “We just have to go out there and play our best, and don’t have any simple mistakes’’
“We have come a long way,’’ Liddell said. “They are strong front to back and defend well, but so do we. We’re not coming over to keep it close. We’re going over there to win. If we play our style of soccer, we can be successful.’’
Enid has achieved its preseason games of having a winning season and reaching the playoffs for the third time in Liddell’s 13-year tenure.
“Everybody’s hungrier now,’’ Delgadillo said. “We want to go on and make the state championship game now. This means so much to me. When I was a sophomore, I was the young guy. Now, I’m leading the team, all the seniors are. We have a chance to do something.’’
Delgadillo leads the team with eight goals, followed by Armando Gutierrez with five, Felix Mora with four and Wyatt Nirider and Oscar Pena with three. Hernandez is allowing an average of 1.62 goals per game.
“He’s had a great year,’’ Liddell said of Delgadillo. “He just loves the game. ‘’
Delgadillo credited the team’s heart.
“After we lost to Ponca City, everybody was telling us we weren’t going to make the playoffs,’’ Delgadillo said. “We determined to make the playoffs, and that’s what got us here.’’
Enid knows the pressure of close games. Ten of the 13 games were decided by one goal (or in overtime).
“When the pressure is on, we know we can make it happen,’’ Delgadillo said.
“We know when it’s a tough game, we’re not going to panic,’’ Liddell said.
Delgadillo admits to feeling a little pressure.
“But I wouldn’t say I’m nervous,’’ he said. “I told myself just to go out and play well. It’s exciting. This is what you play for. Of course, you get a little nervous, but as the game goes along, that goes away.
“The pressure is on them. They just can’t say, ‘it’s just Enid.’ We have beaten Jenks. They’re No. 6 and we’re No. 10. Like one of our teachers said, they’re just high school players, too.’’
The Plainsmen have another incentive. If EHS wins, the Plainsmen will host the Bartlesville at Bixby winner on May 3.
“We win this one, we go home and make history,’’ Delgadillo said.
“That give us a little extra umph,’’ Liddell said. “We don’t want to look too far ahead, but you have to be aware of the big picture. It’s a great incentive for us.’’
There will be a send-off for the Plainsmen at approximately 1:25 p.m. on the north side of the track.