By J. Levi Burnfin

lburnfin@gctelegram.com

Garden City High School's boys' soccer team was missing by just an inch in its early attacks against Thomas More Prep-Marian on Monday. But the floodgates finally opened at Buffalo Stadium as the Buffs (11-4) rolled to an easy 7-1 win over the Monarchs (3-11).

The Buffaloes dominated the ball early in the game, attacking the north goal, but were unable to find the back of the net despite several great chances. In the third minute, an Esteban Neave cross from right to left in front of the net went empty. In the 13th minute, a David Amaro shot went just wide left. Two minutes later, Neave connected on a cross to Eric Barragan, but the shot hit the left post and bounced away harmlessly. In the 20th minute, an Alex Vaquez cross was just barely too far in front of a streaking Amaro in front of the goal.¬ 

"I think we were trying a little too hard at the beginning," said Buffs' head coach Joaquin Padilla after the match. "I think we were too anxious trying to go in, and we missed about three or four right off the top. But one finally went in,¬ they relaxed, and the goals came."

The goal that finally came was in the 21st minute, as senior Ismael Hernandez scored unassisted, giving the Buffs the lead. After that, the Buffs scored easily.¬ 

In the 27th minute, Amaro received a pass inside the box, controlled it with his back to the goal, and made a quick pass to the right to senior Jose Ruitiga, who drilled it in with his right foot.¬ 

Even the breaks started bouncing Garden City's way. The Buffs' third goal came as Gilberto Tovar hit the left post from inside the box. But instead of rebounding safely away, the ball fell directly at Barragan's feet, who easily tapped the ball in from 10 yards for the 3-0 lead in the 34th minute. Barragan then made it 4-0 with 20 seconds to play before half by dribbling from the top left of the 18-yard box, running the length of the box to the right and then scoring with a shot to the back left corner.

The Buffs added three more goals quickly in the second half as Barragan completed a hat trick, scoring unassisted in the 43rd minute. Then, Barragan assisted on Amaro's goal in the 48th and scored his fourth of the game just a minute later.

The Monarchs got on the board in the 66th minute as Julio Aldemiro scored off a set piece, making up the final 7-1 margin.

The Buffs had 14 shots on goal compared to the Monarchs' three. The Buffs' Saul Gonzalez had two saves, while the Monarchs used three goalies to combine for seven saves.

The Buffs have their final Western Athletic Conference game of the season at 4:30 p.m. today against Hays High at Buffalo Stadium. If the Buffs win, they'll clinch at least a share of the conference championship with Dodge City. If Dodge City were to lose on Thursday at Liberal, the Buffs would hold the honor solely.

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TMP 0 1 -- 1

GCHS ¬ 4 3 -- 7

Scoring Summary

First Half

GCHS--Hernandez, unassisted, 21st minute

GCHS--Ruitiga, assisted by Amaro, 27th

GCHS--Barragan, unassisted, 34th

GCHS--Barragan, unassisted, 39th

Second Half

GCHS--Barragan, unassisted, 43rd

GCHS--Amaroa, assisted by Barragan, 48th

GCHS--Barragan, unassisted, 49th

TMP--Aldemiro, assisted by Brady Hutchison, 66th