Tuesday, 15 May 2018 00:23

Red Rams pull away late for conference title win over Rockingham

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Hamlet's Andres Sanchez had a big second half with a penalty kick to tie the game and had an assist on the game-winning goal by Tymir Ennals. Hamlet's Andres Sanchez had a big second half with a penalty kick to tie the game and had an assist on the game-winning goal by Tymir Ennals. Photo courtesy of Deon Cranford.

ROCKINGHAM – The Hamlet Middle School boys soccer team had just watched the Lady Red Rams win the conference title at Rockingham Middle School before taking a short bus ride over to Richmond Senior High School for their own title game. 

Their opponent was also in-county rival Rockingham, but unlike the barrage of early scoring seen in the girls’ game, the boys’ game was uncertain until the final buzzer.  When the last second ticked it away, it was Hamlet that had locked up their second title of the evening with a 3-2 victory over the Rockets.

During a first half battle for the ball, everyone lost Hamlet’s Christian Robinson.  Robinson took control of a loose ball, and with an open look just outside the box, he booted a 25-yarder that found the back of the net for the game’s first score with 14:02 on the clock.

It looked as though Hamlet’s 1-0 lead would remain intact until intermission, but Rockingham’s Alex Medina blew one past the Red Ram goalkeeper to tie the game up with just a 1:34 remaining in the first half.

After the break, Rockingham took its first lead of the game when Sam Thompson scored his first goal of the season.  After two other Rockingham shots were deflected, Thompson managed slip the ball just inside the right goal post to put the Rockets ahead 2-1 with 19:15 remaining.

With the Rockets carrying all of the momentum, Hamlet caught a huge break.  Hamlet’s Andres Sanchez was pushed down in the box setting up an opportunity to tie the game with a penalty kick.  Sanchez was true on his attempt knotting the game up at the 12:15 mark.

From there, fans sat in suspense as shot after shot from both teams failed to connect.  As minutes ticked away, overtime seemed imminent, but Hamlet’s Tymir Ennals had other plans.  Ennals took a pass from Sanchez and got an open look from the left side of the box.  He connected with just 1:40 on the clock sending Red Ram nation into a frenzy.

“It was a great game today,” said Hamlet head coach Earl Nicholson.  “The big difference was that we really went after the ball hard and our kids kept their heads when they felt like they were being pushed or held.  They just stayed focused on the game plan.”

Hamlet finished the season with a 9-1-1 record and a conference title.

Ashleigh Buie, Hamlet’s girl’s soccer coach chimed in following the boys’ victory.  

“We won and Coach Nicholson’s boys also won,” Buie remarked.  “In our eight years together, it is the first time that both the boys and girls have won in the same year. It was a good day to be a Red Ram.”