By Silliam Ysaguirre, Staff Reporter
The boys of Independence Primary School won the National Primary Schools Football Tournament, organized by the National Sports Council at the Raccoon Street field in Belize City on Wednesday, June 17.
The Independence boys won the championship final 3-2 over the Cayo District champions, the Mt. Carmel R.C. School boys from Benque Viejo. Jeffton Apolonio scored first for Independence when he launched a shot from the edge of the goal area that screamed in to rebound off the bottom of the crossbar and into the back of the net: 1-0. The Mt. Carmel boys blundered into conceding a penalty when Keith Sarceno took down Apolonio inside the goal area, and Jeffton scored his third goal of the tournament as he drilled home his shot into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Shemar Roberts created the play for a third goal when his pass forward found Jeffton at the corner of the goal area. Apolonio spun and centered the ball to Leon Westby in front of the goal, and Westby’s immediate left foot shot rocketed the ball into the back of the net for a 3-0 lead.
Mt Carmel’s team captain, Julio Castellanos beat MVP goalkeeper, Marlon Flores when he blasted in a free kick just inside the right upright, but Mt. Carmel trailed 1-3 at intermission.
Castellanos’ forward pass also found Kimi “Chippy” Jolly, who scored his third goal of the tournament in the second half, and MVP Flores knew nothing about Jolly’s rocket into the net, reducing the deficit to 2-3. But the Mt. Carmel boys could not come up with the equalizer before the long whistle. Apolonio might have been the most likely candidate for the MVP award until he ignored the referee’s whistle and booted the ball into the net, after he was called offside. This earned him a second yellow card reprimand, and he was ejected from the ball game with a red card.
The Independence boys had advanced to the finals undefeated by a 3-1 victory in a penalty shootout over the Orange Walk District champions, the boys of Louisiana Government School, in the semifinals. Mayim Carlos converted Orange Walk’s first try, but MVP Marlon Flores stopped Orange Walk’s next three tries, while Vince Garbutt, Flores and Rodrick Parham converted for the 3-1 win.
Mt. Carmel had held the Independence boys to a scoreless draw in their first encounter in the fourth game of the day, and the Independence boys had also drawn 1-1 with the Corozal district champions, the boys of Chunox RC School, in the sixth game of the day. Jeffton Apolonio scored for Independence, but Romario Martinez equalized for Chunox.
The Mt. Carmel boys had also reached the finals undefeated as they eliminated the Belize district champions, the boys of San Pedro RC School from Ambergris Caye, 1-0 in the semifinals, when Kimo Jolly scored the winning goal. Jolly had also been the author of their first 1-0 victory over the Chunox RC boys in the second game of the morning at the MCC Grounds.
The San Pedro R.C. boys won the consolation game for third place 1-0 over the Louisiana Government boys in the ninth game of the day, when Dixon Paguada scored the winning goal in the first half. The San Pedro R.C. boys also won the third game of the morning, 1-0 over the Toledo district champions, the boys of Punta Gorda Methodist School, when Ian Pou scored the winning goal.
The Orange Walk boys had reached the semifinals undefeated as they had won the opening game of the tournament 1-0 over the San Pedro boys at the MCC grounds, when Gemario Sanabria scored the winning goal. The Orange Walk boys were unfazed when their tournament was relocated to the Raccoon Street field, and they also triumphed 1-0 over the P.G. Methodist boys with the winning goal by Mayim Carlos in the fifth game of the day.
Sports Coordinator John Trapp presented team trophies and individual medals to the champions, second and third place winners, and Independence goalkeeper, Marlon Flores won the Most Valuable Player award.