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Panthers fall at home in conference opener

by Graham Thomas | March 15, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.
Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Siloam Springs freshman striker Anderson Lara possesses the ball as Mountain Home's Isaiah Kemp defends during Friday's game at Panther Stadium. The Bombers defeated the Panthers 2-1.

Siloam Springs was 40 minutes away from earning its first win of the season but a victory was not in the cards for the Panthers on Friday against Mountain Home.

Mountain Home scored an equalizer early in the second half and the Bombers scored a late goal in the 77th minute off the rebound of a saved penalty kick to stun the Panthers 2-1 in both teams' 5A-West Conference opener at Panther Stadium.

With the loss, the Panthers fell to 0-6 overall, 0-1 in league play and having been outscored 26-4 in the early going.

"A lot of it is we have some young players out there, but that's no excuse," said first-year SSHS boys coach Craig Moses. "It's all on me. I'm the coach. I'm the one that's got to get them ready to play and I've got to do a better job coaching. That's what it all boils down to. I've got to do a better job interpreting what I want done and I've got to do a better job of getting these kids motivated."

Siloam Springs took its first lead of the season, 1-0, with 35 seconds left in the first half when Ronald Mancia dribbled inside the box and scored for the Panthers.

But the lead proved to be short-lived.

Mountain Home tied it up 1-1 with 28 minutes, 45 seconds left in the second half when the Panthers failed to clear a ball out of the box and Bombers defender William Bevel scored the equalizer.

The game remained tied until the 77th minute when Mountain Home was fouled in the 18-yard box and awarded a penalty kick.

Forward Alvaro Salas attempted a penalty kick and Siloam Springs goalkeeper R.J. Reyna made a diving save to his right, but Salas collected the rebound and scored what would be the game-winning goal.

"Yeah he's a fighter for us," Mountain Home coach Nathan Criner said of Salas. "We were in the same situation Tuesday down at Arkadelphia, down 1-0 at half. We came back resilient, both halves and came back and won both games 2-1. These boys have been there and they were able to do it again for the second time this week."

It's the second consecutive season the Bombers have earned points at Panther Stadium as they battled Siloam Springs to a tie in 2022, and then earned three points for the win on Friday.

"Siloam, perennial soccer program in the state," Criner said. "We've been able to fight really hard when we come over here. We're used to these long road trips. Everywhere we go in the state for conference besides one team is about this far so we're used to them."

Siloam Springs, meanwhile, was still looking for answers.

"I thought we looked a lot better," Moses said. "Passing the ball, I thought we controlled a large part of the game. It's just we couldn't defend the second half like we needed to. We just tackled in the box at the wrong time. It just kind of hurt, you know. It showed on the kids. It showed on the coaching staff and everybody. All we can do is work hard, get back and get ready for Alma."

Fayetteville 8, Siloam Springs 0

FAYETTEVILLE -- Fayetteville is off to an impressive start after a disappointing finish last year in boys soccer.

The Bulldogs scored in clusters to defeat Siloam Springs 8-0 Tuesday in nonconference action at Harmon Field. Silas Robinson scored three goals for Fayetteville, which led 3-0 at halftime and 5-0 early in the second half following goals by Robinson and Jadir Alvarado.

Fayetteville is 5-0 with a goal differential of 26 to 3. Siloam Springs fell to 0-5.

The match started under hazy conditions at Harmon Field because of a controlled burn west of Fayetteville. But the smoke mostly disappeared by halftime in the 80-minute match and did not appear to affect the players.

Robinson and Gonzales provided the highlight of the game when the two combined on a goal to put Fayetteville ahead 4-0 with 28 minutes left in the match. Gonzales dribbled to the right side of the Siloam Springs goal and fed a perfect pass to Robinson, who drilled a kick into the net.

Robinson is one of eight seniors for Fayetteville, which was eliminated 1-0 by Rogers Heritage last year in the quarterfinals of the Class 6A state tournament at Cabot.

"Silas, he's a captain for a reason," said Fayetteville coach Brent Crenshaw, who was playing against his former team. "He's been a leader for years but he's been banged up. His sophomore and junior years he had some injuries, so he didn't play a lot. This summer he really hit the weight room, got fit and took care of his body. Look at him now and he's pretty impressive."

Tuesday's game was a rematch from three days ago when Fayetteville shut out the Panthers 4-0. Teams from the 6A-West Conference will play more nonleague games than in the past after the coaches decided on a single round-robin format with the addition of Fort Smith Northside that expanded the league to nine members. Conference play in the 6A-West doesn't begin until the week of April 4.

Fayetteville led 3-0 at halftime following goals by Robinson, Sebastian Marzana and Gonzales, who scored on a penalty kick. Robinson placed a kick into the Siloam Springs net about 10 minutes into the match but the goal was disallowed because of an offsides call. Robinson came back seconds later and made this one count when he delivered a hard kick past the Siloam Springs goalie.

Fayetteville scored five times in the second half to complete the rout.

Up next

Siloam Springs was scheduled to host Alma on Tuesday at Panther Stadium. Results were not available at presstime. The Panthers play at Greenbrier on Thursday.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sportswriter Rick Fires contributed to this report.

  photo  Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Mountain Home defenders Blaine Tate (left) and Jacob Bzdel (right) converge on Siloam Springs defender Uriel Padilla during Friday's game.

Print Headline: Panthers fall at home in conference opener


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