With really nothing to play for in last Tuesday’s regular season finale against Argyle, Byron Nelson’s boys soccer team didn’t want to coast, either.
The Bobcats faced a team in the Eagles who needed to make the postseason with a win. But Nelson used enough offense to complete a 2-1 victory and finish the regular season the right way as undefeated district champions.
On Tuesday, the Class 4A Region I playoffs began as Nelson (20-1-2, 8-0-2 in District 11-4A) played White Settlement Brewer at 7:30 p.m. It was the second game of the double header in Western Tarrant County as the Nelson girls and Brewer girls played their bi-district matchup first. Had Nelson won, it would move on to the area round and face Gainesville. The games were played after the press deadline; see www.dfwvarsity.com for results.
“Really for not playing for a week and a half, I thought we were able to shake off some rust and play pretty solid,” head coach Howard Putter said. “But it’s hard to duplicate the speed of a game with the speed of practice.
“We knew we were playing a desperate team that needed the game. They had two really good scoring chances in the first 10 minutes that we were able to get through. Once we escaped that, we were pretty efficient with the ball.”
But Putter does like the way his team is streaking toward the postseason. The Bobcats have picked up the offensive pace and have kept the clamps on the defense.
Between the first half of district play and the second half, the numbers showed it. The goal differential went from 1.5 to 2.7.
“I think the big thing for us is that we continue to move the ball well throughout the field and put some good pressure on the back end,” Putter said. “The guys understand how they have to continue to work and communicate together so we can get the shots that we want.”
Region I will be challenging again, as Wichita Falls and Wichita Falls Rider should push for the championship. The Raiders eliminated the Bobcats in the regional quarterfinals last year.
Zack Ullman (concussion) was cleared to return to soccer-related activities but did not play against Argyle. Putter said he wanted to hold Ullman out to make sure he would have him stronger and fresher for the postseason.
For Brett Powell (ankle), his situation remained unclear as the week began. Putter said he was going to have to watch how he went through Monday’s practice and maybe a little bit of Tuesday’s warm-up to determine if Powell could play.
Given that the Bobcats were heavy favorites to move on to the area playoff round on Friday, the chances of holding Powell out for another game seemed to be the way Putter was leaning.
The Texans’ season is over and it finished in frustrating fashion. Northwest (1-16-4, 0-10-4 in District 4-5A) lost to Richland last Tuesday, 2-0, and lost to Keller Central this past Friday, 1-0. Scoring was the predominant problem for this team as it did not score a goal in its final five games.