The Trophy Club Nelson boys soccer team made sure this two-day trip was one of celebration, as eight players accounted for nine goals in the Class 4A Region I tournament.
After watching the Nelson girls earn a trip to state earlier Saturday, the boys stormed the field with four first-half goals in a 5-2 rout of El Paso Andress in the Class 4A regional final at Memorial Stadium.
It was the first time the Bobcats (26-1-2) had allowed two goals all season, but both came in the final five minutes of a one-sided match.
Next for Nelson is the state semifinals at 4 or 6 p.m. Friday at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown.
Four Bobcats scored Friday in a 4-1 victory over Amarillo, and five players scored in Saturday’s rout.
The only player who scored twice in the tournament was Hunter McGuire, who celebrated his 17th birthday with a 50-yard bomb to make it 3-0 against Andress. He had a similar long connection in Friday’s victory.
The Bobcats had an 80-minute stretch in which they stopped a penalty kick and outscored two opponents 6-0.
Ryan Dandan, John Kouam, Devin Porter and Tanner Burns also scored Saturday in another display of balance. Nelson led 4-0 at halftime and 5-0 through 75 minutes.
“It is kind of exciting to see how our team has developed over time, and to see us go 5-2 against a solid team is phenomenal,” McGuire said. Andress finished its season with a 19-9 record.
McGuire said the long-distance goals weren’t by design.
“Coaches told me where to hit it and I just got lucky,” he said. “I was just trying to get it up there where one of my teammates can get it and get the glory.
“Everyone contributes, everyone comes to practice and everyone works hard and busts their butt at practice.”
With his team having not lost since Jan. 10 against Midland, McGuire is hoping to keep that the streak going one more week. When asked his thoughts of state, he simply said, “We hope to win it.”
In the regional tournament, the Bobcats simply took all hope away from the opponents with stellar defense and a multi-pronged attack. And they gave McGuire a birthday he won’t soon forget.