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Bentonville West upends Bentonville, 2-1

by Rick Fires | April 30, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

CENTERTON -- Bentonville High came into Thursday's game with plenty of momentum after knocking off league-leading Springdale on Tuesday.

But Bentonville's momentum died Thursday on the field at Wolverine Stadium, courtesy of rival Bentonville West.

Jesus Hernandez scored two goals and West held on for a 2-1 victory over Bentonville in 6A-West Conference action. Hernandez scored his second goal of the game on a penalty kick to give Bentonville West a 2-1 lead 10 minutes into the second half. Bentonville had a handful of scoring opportunities in the final 20 minutes but the Tigers could not push anything else past Bentonville West goalie Lleyton Hull.

Thursday's upset followed a 2-0 win over Fort Smith Southside on Tuesday for the Wolverines, who improved to 5-5-3 in 6A-West Conference play.

"We've been talking about perseverance, taking the hard punches and punching back," Bentonville West coach John Marshall said. "This is one of those moments that we told ourselves we could do this if we work together, and we did."

Bentonville (7-3-3) took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Andrew Wagner after the Tigers beat Springdale 1-0 Tuesday on a goal from Noah Blake. But the Tigers' momentum began to fizzle late in the first half when Hernandez scored from about 25 yards away to tie the game 1-1 at halftime.

"When I saw the ball there I said to myself 'this is the moment,'" Hernandez said of his first score on Thursday. "I just kicked the ball and I was so happy when it went in."

Hernandez's goal was set up by Austin Pettigrew, who delivered a backward pass in perfect position for Hernandez, who blasted the ball long and high past the Bentonville goalkeeper.

"Austin had a great game starting at forward for us today for the first time," Marshall said. "He did a good job of bringing the ball down and finding runs. But the whole team, really, came through."

Bentonville's only goal came seven minutes into the match and was set up by Johnny Merlos, who attacked from near the sideline and passed to Wagner, who spun away from a defender and kicked the ball into the net.

After Hernandez tied the game 1-1, the junior midfielder scored on a penalty kick to put Bentonville West ahead 2-1 10 minutes into the second half. West held onto the lead despite a handful of chances for Bentonville, which could not score more than one game in two games this week.

Play in the 6A-West Conference ends on Tuesday with West hosting Springdale Har-Ber and Bentonville playing at Fayetteville.

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