BY JIM MISUNAS
Great Bend's Jaime Arellanes was on fire, a nearly impossible feat in 26-degree chill temperatures at Memorial Stadium.
Maybe the truth is Arellanes is a cool customer who was spectacular with two goals and an assist in the Panthers' 3-1 victory Tuesday over Andover High in 5A regional soccer. Francisco Garcia contributed a nifty assist and an opening goal off Arellanes' perfect corner kick.
A star was born on a 32-degree night.
Arellanes is a creative passer who uses his footwork to deliver scoring opportunities. No one figured he would score his third and fourth goals of the season in post-season.
Arellanes broke a scoreless tie with a well-placed corner kick that Garcia deflected past goalie Josaih Galdean with 17:15 left in regulation. He converted a 30-yard blast from long distance for a 2-0 lead at the 13:53 mark.
"I'd have to say my first goal was pretty exciting into the right top corner," Arellanes said.
After Andover's Ethan Lewis converted a penalty kick off a Panther foul, the creative Garcia returned the favor with a pin-point pass to Arellanes at the 11:47 mark of the second half.
"I guess everything clicked for us," Arellanes said. ". Once I got going I felt really good today. I give all the credit to my teammates."
A suggestion by an assistant coach Rodrigo Adame convinced head coach Jesus Loera to shift Arellanes to a primary scoring threat at forward.
"I give credit to Rodrigo. It worked out great for us," Loera said. "Jaime has a big heart and he finds a way to get to the ball. That's what happened on his second goal."
Andover took control of the tempo at times, threatening goalie Daniel Cervantes several times. Cervantes turned back John Lasater's free kick for his best save.
"Andover dictated the tempo and made it difficult to get any rhythm," Loera said. "Andover did a good job closing us in. They made it difficult for us. We did a good job finding our way out of some tight areas."
Panthers Humberto Alonzo and Garcia worked their ball movement back-and-forth several times before Arellanes worked his magic to deliver a post-season victory. The Panthers (9-7-1) journey to No. 1 seed Goddard Eisenhower (16-0-1) Thursday at Goddard.
"Once we created some space, we started playing our game, " Loera said. "Daniel Cervantes always plays solid in the goal."
Loera said it'll be a challenge against Goddard Eisenhower.
TUESDAY--Goddard Eisenhower 10, Arkansas City 0; Great Bend 3. Andover 1
THURSDAY--Goddard Eisenhower 16-0-1 vs. Great Bend 9-7-1