Great Bend High School junior forward Michael Prieto recorded a hat trick as the Panthers eliminated Goddard-Eisenhower in a Class 5A regional semifinal game on Tuesday evening at Cavanaugh Field.
The Panthers scored six goals in the second half to finish off the Tigers 7-1.
Michael Prieto made it 1-0 seven minutes into the game, taking a long pass from Alex Urias past the defense and beating Eisenhower’s goalkeeper.
The Tigers defense sealed shut for the rest of the half, keeping the game close.
GBHS head coach Gus Prieto said he had his team play defensively in the first half.
“We’ve never played them before,” Gus Prieto said. “I don’t have much information on them, so I told the players to try to play back and control the ball. We started kind of slow, kind of nervous. At halftime, I talked to them. I said, ‘Hey, we get the ball, we have to be aggressive.’ ”
That changed drastically in the second half.
Urias scored the first of his two goals with 37:22 remaining in the game. Michael Prieto found him with a long pass, and Urias beat Tigers goalkeeper Nate Obr.
Michael Prieto continued to put the pressure on Eisenhower’s defense, scoring two quick goals.
He took a cross pass from Urias, making it 3-0, and four minutes after that, Urias dropped a pass in the middle of the goalie’s box at Michael’s feet, and the speedy forward plunged the ball into the net.
Urias scored his second goal of the night with 28:38 remaining, taking a cross pass from Jose Mijares and placing a shot in the back corner of the goal.
Mijares served up a corner kick for Enrique Guyton, who took advantage of a loose ball in the box for a goal.
Guyton scored the Panthers’ final goal with 9:31 remaining on an assist from Rafael Arias.
“We found the key, and it was about time,” Gus Prieto said. “Sometimes, they played like they didn’t want to receive a goal. In the first half, they had everybody back, and I told my team once we get that second goal, it will be a different game.”
Down 7-0, Eisenhower pushed the ball into Great Bend’s goalie box, and a Panthers defender was penalized for a hand ball.
On the ensuing penalty kick, Great Bend goalie Edgar Garcia blocked a shot from Tigers defender Brett Tucker, but Tucker struck the rebound into the net.
Great Bend hosts Maize South, which beat Wichita West 4-2, on Thursday night at 7. The game will be held at Memorial Stadium.