Big game? Maceo Escboar always seems to show up.
The Jesse Bethel High eldest did it twice last week, scoring against Pinole Valley and Vallejo and adding an assist in the game against the Redhawks in the semi-finals and the Tri-County Athletic League championship, respectively .
He is the Times-Herald Athlete of the Week.
Head coach Jonathan Tzun pointed out that some of Esbobar’s best goals have come against talented Division I schools like Napa and Vintage in the past, as well as the aforementioned games last week against Pinole and Vallejo.
“You could say he’s very clutch,” Tzun said. “He is not afraid of pressure.
Escobar started learning football when he was 4 years old and started playing competitively since he was 8 years old. He is part of the traveling squad of Vallejo United.
“Basically, I’ve played football all my life,” he said.
When central midfielder David Mendoza and Matthew Cadavid graduated, Bethel needed other goalscoring options to advance. Escobar is one of them.
The season hasn’t gone exactly according to the game, however. TCAL shut down almost all sports for about two months due to high COVID cases. The Jaguars played in mid-December, then didn’t play again until late January. This set the stage for the TCAL tournament last week when Bethel was the No. 2 seed.
The 2-1 victory against Pinole was difficult at times. Luckily, the Jaguars got first-half goals from Escobar and Jordan Oliva. Esbobar came on in the 17th minute
“My teammate Jose (Gomez) sent a ball deep and then crossed it towards me,” Escobar said. “I was on the edge of the penalty area and threw him into the corner of the net.”
Esbobar was involved in one of the game’s controversial plays when a Pinole player dragged him from behind on a potential breakaway near the 40-yard line. The Jaguars were expecting a red card for the Spartans but Pinole only got a yellow as the game remained at 11v11 instead of 11v10.
“I knew I had (my defender) beaten and had a 1v1 opportunity with the keeper,” Escobar said. “All of a sudden I felt someone pulling me from behind. I was mad. We all were since we were expecting a red card.
The Jaguars could have gone 3-0 with that goal. Instead, Pinole scored to make it 2-1 and that’s how it ended. Bethel looked lethargic at times in the second half as the lack of competition began to have an effect.
Two days later against Vallejo, the Jaguars were fired up to play their rival. Despite a 1-0 half-time deficit, they scored four times in the second half to win easily.
Vallejo’s coaches played the game under protest because they believed Bethel had two ineligible players on the roster due to their involvement with an elite-level club team. Both teams had to wait for an official decision from the North Coast Section on Friday. It was ultimately determined that both players were eligible for that game, but Bethel had to forfeit two more games earlier in the season.
Escobar said he and the other players didn’t know about the protest until after the game.
“It didn’t really affect us,” he said. “We just let the coaches deal with it.”
Bethel opened the North Coast Section playoffs on Tuesday against Tamalpais. Tzun is happy to have Escobar because it’s another big game against a quality opponent.
“The good thing about Maceo is that he can attack from the left or right side,” Tzun said. “He is capable of creating chances and he will adapt depending on the defence. He’s not that big but he’s fast and has great footwork. He’s a tough guy to defend. »
- Tobyn Bunch (American Canyon wrestling) clinched first place in the heavyweight division of the Vine Valley Athletic League Championships.
- Davion Castro, Dylan de Leon, John Reg and Thome Walters (Bethel wrestling) all took first place in the TCAL Championships.
- Destiny Evans (American Canyon women’s basketball) had 13 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Napa and 19 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Petaluma. She also had eight boards in a win over Justin-Siena.
- Elijah Feinstine (Vallejo boys soccer) scored twice in a win over Salesian in the TCAL semi-finals.
- Peyton Holcomb (Benicia women’s basketball) finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds, six assists and four steals in a win over Concord. She had 13 points, 17 rebounds and four assists in a win over Ygnacio and added 10 points, seven rebounds, six assists in a loss to Mt. Diablo.
- Tyriq McNeal (Vallejo boys basketball) finished with 28 points against Albany in the TCAL tournament.
- Nick Medeiros (St. Pat’s men’s basketball) scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter in a TCAL championship win over Salesian. He also had 14 points and 10 assists in a win over Vallejo in the league semi-finals.
- Kyla Mitchell and Kate Northen (Benicia Women’s Soccer) combined for the shutout in the Panthers goal in a win over Berean Christian.
- Stephen Ransom (Benicia men’s basketball) finished with 16 points and six blocks in a win over Concord.
- Lauren Totty (American Canyon wrestling) took first place in the VVAL Championships 172-pound championship.
- Christian Trusclair (Bethel boys basketball) had 18 points in a win over Swett at the TCAL tournament.