The last thing to be decided on the final day of the boys soccer regular season was the seeding heading into the playoffs this week, and Keller Fossil Ridge did just enough to keep the second seed in District 3-6A.
Regardless of the seeding, the Panthers, along with Keller and Keller Central, will start the new season in a win-or-go-home scenario which kicks off on Thursday. Justin Northwest also moves on, in 5A.
Now, Fossil Ridge will face Fort Worth Paschal on Friday at Saginaw, Keller will take on Arlington Bowie on Friday at 8 p.m. at Birdville’s Fine Arts/Activity Center, and Central will play Arlington Sam Houston on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Pennington Field.
Fossil Ridge managed a 1-1 tie with district champion Abilene on Friday night but lost in a shootout to the surprising Eagles.
As a result, Fossil Ridge gained a standings point with the draw, just enough to forge a tie with Keller, which will take the third seed. Fossil Ridge had a one-goal positive differential over Keller as it beat the Indians 3-0 after losing to them 2-0 in the district schedule.
Central rounds out the district, qualifying in fourth.
The hard-fought loss to Abilene had an added benefit going into the playoffs, said Ridge head coach James Moore.
“It let us prepare going into the first round as we had some adversity,” he said, noting the Panthers had to come back to tie the game or risk losing the second-place seed. “It will prepare us for (the Paschal game) and going on from there.”
Ridge had to fight back early in the district schedule from a five-point hole after being banged up from injuries and illness. It had losses to Weatherford and Haltom in shootouts.
But the Panthers should be entering the playoffs at full strength.
Keller finished strong against Haltom on Thursday, winning 3-0 and putting the pressure on Ridge.
In the Haltom game, Oscar Martyn scored twice and Parker Odle picked up the other Indians goal.
Central finished off the regular season with a 3-1 win over Weatherford and has the tall task taking on the area’s third-ranked team in Sam Houston in the opening round.
But with all the adversity of concussions, injuries and close contests along the way, the Chargers seem to be pleased with what’s been placed on their plate.
“Our boys have shown superior character through it all and are looking for just one chance,” said Central head coach Aaron Cottrell.
“We are the underdogs against Sam Houston, one of the top-ranked teams in the state. We look at this as nothing but opportunity,” Cottrell added. “We will be fully prepared for the challenge.”
Northwest will be traveling to Wichita Falls to take on Wichita Falls Rider in its bi-district match-up.
The Texans will play on Thursday at 7 p.m., following the Lady Texans’ game with Rider, which will start at 5 p.m.