Rubehn Martinez is typically more of a distributor for the Clovis High boys soccer team.
But the junior co-captain was a deliverer Wednesday at Lamonica Stadium with a miraculous, season-extending shot for the Cougars in the quarterfinals of the Central Section Division I playoffs.
Martinez blasted a 30-yard shot that looped into the upper right corner of the box just before the end of the second 10-minute overtime period to lift top-seeded Clovis to a wild 5-4 victory over No. 8 Central, sending the Cougars to a semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday at home against No. 12 Clovis West.
“I just put it up and hope it’s going in,” Martinez said. “With my support from God, he just places it for me. I had nothing to do with it, it was my team and it was God.”
I just put it up and hope it’s going in. With my support from God, he just places it for me. I had nothing to do with it, it was my team and it was God.
Clovis’ Rubehn Martinez, who scored the winning goal in the Cougars 5-4 Central Section Division I boys soccer quarterfinal win over Central in overtime.
With the score tied 4-4 and less than 2 minutes remaining before the start of a sudden victory overtime period, Martinez took possession of the ball and dribbled to his left, before stopping and reversed to the right before unleashing a high, looping shot between two Central defenders.
Central goalkeeper Robbie Rosas – who had made several brilliant saves to that point, including a first-half penalty-kick stop – leaped for the ball, but it was just out of his reach as Martinez tallied his second goal of overtime.
“Rubehn has been working out at 5 a.m. since the summer time and he’s been working on his shot,” Clovis coach Danny Amparano said. “He’s such a distributor and such a big part of the team. But he’s been working on his shot and he sort of took over a little bit toward the end there. He was willing his team as a captain should.”
Martinez’s first goal came off a rebounded shot toward the end of the first overtime period that tied the score 3-3.
Central (13-12-3) retook the lead 4-3 roughly 5 minutes into the second overtime on a goal by Michael Arrington, before Braedon Rouff provided the equalizer for Clovis when he knocked in a ball that had gotten free from Rosas in the 98th minute.
The ball was bouncing around. I didn’t know what was happening,” Rouff said. “It popped out and it was an easy tap in.
“It was tough. Central played a great game. We just retaliated and pulled it out in the end.”
Javier Berber opened the scoring for Central when he scored off a cross from Jimmy Lorenti in the 33rd minute.
Clovis (22-3-0) countered on the first of Rouff’s two goals in the 38th minute.
The Cougars took their first lead in the 70th minute when Alex Martinez converted, but the Grizzlies responded 3 minutes into stoppage time when Lorenti scored off Berber’s assist.
Central also took the first lead of overtime when Reece Rivera converted a penalty kick after Berber drew foul in the box, only to give up the lead on Martinez’s first goal just before the buzzer.
“This group of boys have been like this for a lot of years,” Amparano said. “I knew they would never quit until that last second.
This group of boys have been like this for a lot of years. I knew they would never quit until that last second.
Clovis coach Danny Amparano on his team’s 5-4 overtime victory over Central in the Central Section Division I boys soccer quarterfinals.
“I think with 14, 15 days off (Clovis last played Feb. 8,) I expected a little bit of rust. But to win like this, I think it recharges the battery. I think we’re plugged in right now.”
Central, which split two meetings with Clovis during Tri-River Athletic Conference play, held the lead three times but couldn’t protect it.
“The game was intense,” Grizzlies coach Raul Martin said. “The boys were ready to play. There in the end, it just got away from us.”
Second-seeded Buchanan hosts No. 6 Clovis North at 3 p.m. Friday in the other semifinal, with the final set for Tuesday.
CENTRAL SECTION PLAOFFS
Clovis 5, Central 4
Ce, Javier Berber, Jimmy Lorenti, Reece Rivera, Michael Arrington. Cl, Braedon Rouff 2, Alex Martinez, Rubehn Martinez 2. Records: Central 13-12-3, Clovis, 22-3-0.