It really doesn’t matter what sport it is. Coaches are no fans of postseason unknowns, and all Byron Nelson boys soccer coach Howard Putter knows his team is going to be playing a playoff game this week.
The Bobcats (18-2-1, 12-2 in District 5-6A) began the week not knowing who the Region I bi-district playoff opponent was going to be, much less when and where that game was going to be played.
The nine-team District 6-6A wrapped up its district play on Monday. As far as Putter knew, he could have been facing Flower Mound, Plano East, Hebron or Allen. Now that all likely was going to be settled that night. It just makes for a much smaller window to prepare. There is nothing routine about this week.
“It’s a little tougher, because anyone was going to be in that fourth playoff spot,” Putter said. “That’s a really deep district. They’re all good. What we don’t have a lot of time to prepare for is if this is the kind of team that is stronger offensively, stronger defensively or has an impossible goalie to deal with.”
Putter and his staff were spread out on Monday scouting several games, so they would have enough information on the opponent the district champion Bobcats would face. Copious notes had to be a must.
While it sounds like having two or three days to prepare for an opponent is an ample amount, the other issue is the Dallas Cup. This signature select soccer event runs Wednesday-Sunday. With the select season extended to where it has become a year-round sport, players now must be creative in how they divide their time between the two sports.
The other concern is how much energy they will have when they play in the postseason game if they are coming off a Dallas Cup matchup. Putter said he will just have to monitor it.
He did have a pretty fresh team in the March 15 regular season finale against Keller Fossil Ridge. Starters played about only half of the game in the 4-2 victory. The team had not played since then because of spring break.
Young and tough
Sophomore forward Tanner Keough has been with the program for only four games. However, he has made quite the impression. The junior varsity call-up has either scored or had an assist in each contest.
Putter promoted Keough because he wanted to add a little more toughness to the front line. Keough was the punter and place-kicker for the junior varsity football team in 2015. While kickers don’t go through the rigors the rest of the football team does, Keough did go through a pretty demanding football offseason.
“He doesn’t get pushed around and really has been making a lot of good plays for us,” Putter said. “We really needed somebody like that up front. It’s been great for us because he’s done a really good job on shots and crosses to set up other players.”
That is saying something, because Putter carries a roster of 20 that is led by 15 seniors.
Justin Northwest update
The Texans concluded their season on March 15 with a 3-0 loss to Keller. Northwest finished the season without a district victory.