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Aledo senior goalkeeper Justen Woody turned back three late Birdville shots from close range, including a breakaway with two and a half minutes remaining in the match, to help the Bearcats to a 2-1 victory over Birdville Friday night in a Class 4A sectional match at Brewer High School.
The win advances the Bearcats (23-1-1) to the regional quarterfinals where they will face the winner of the Midlothian/Crowley sectional match.
Birdville had cut the AHS lead to 2-1 with 5:56 left in the match on a goal by forward Anthony Bardon. The Hawks, using a strong win at their backs in the second half, continued to put on pressure in the Bearcats' defensive end.
With 2:36 remaining, a Birdville attacker was free on a breakaway in the middle, and when he cut to his left the forward tried to poke the ball inside the left post to Woody's right, but Woody made a diving effort to come up with the save.
"I knew I had the angle played right," Woody said. "I just dove and stretched my arms out as far as I could and I deflected the ball out of bounds."
Birdville's ensuing cornerkick was booted safely away from the goal, and another late attempt at the goal was headed away by an alert Aledo defender.
"This was an emotional game," Aledo head coach Derek Vierling said of the contest that produced a yellow card from each side. "Woody came up big for us tonight."
With a strong wind at their backs in the first half, the Bearcats took a 1-0 lead on a Davis header in front of the goal off a free kick from 45 yards out in the middle by Matt Nickell.
With 10 minutes left in the opening half, Aledo nearly took a two-goal lead when Kyle Underwood's shot form 20 yards out deflected off the cross bar and out of play.
Almost five minutes into the second half the Bearcats took a 2-0 lead on a breakaway goal by Yusef Marwan after a brilliant feed by Nickell, who hit the streaking Marwan as he split a pair of Birdville defenders before depositing the ball in the back of the net to the right of the keeper.
With the wind at its back, Birdville - after cutting the lead to a goal - continued to put pressure on Woody, but the senior keeper turned back four Hawks scoring opportunities before making his huge save on the breakaway in the final minutes of the contest.