Central’s and Keller’s boys soccer teams finished second and third respectively in District 5-6A, and the playoffs await them as rewards this week.
Although Central had dropped a tough 1-0 game to district champion Byron Nelson, it came back to finish strong against Timber Creek to secure its runner-up spot.
Keller posted wins over Denton Ryan, 3-2, and Northwest, 3-0, to jump ahead of Denton Ryan for the third seed.
Nelson finished the season with 30 standings points and Central was six points back with 27. Keller was just a point shy of the Chargers with 26, and Ryan finished with 25.
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Central will take on McKinney Boyd this week at Denton High School with the date and time to be determined.
Keller will take on either Flower Mound Marcus or Plano West, as District 6-6A still had a game remaining to determine its final standings prior to the press deadline.
The Chargers and Indians will be looking to get back on track after spring break and pick up the high level of play they achieved toward the end of the regular season.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Central head coach Aaron Cottrell. “We have a resilient group of young men that will rise to any challenge.”
It will be a bit of a familiar look across the sidelines for Central when it meets McKinney Boyd.
Cottrell said he’ll be paired off against an old high school teammate, Casey Osborne, now the Boyd head coach.
“He’s a real good friend of mine,” Cottrell said of the former Sulphur Springs teammate. The two helped Sulphur Springs win the school’s first district championship in 1996.
Cottrell said the two friends squared off against each other six years ago in the state semifinal game.
From the group of Sulphur Springs soccer team members from a four-year span, seven are now coaching at either the collegiate or high school level.
“We were more passionate about high school soccer than talented,” Cottrell joked.
At Keller, head coach Jason Bates was looking forward to getting the team back on the regular schedule following a bit of time off to recuperate prior to the start of the playoffs.
“We’ll get back on track on Monday,” Bates said over the weekend. “We took a little time off to heal up a little bit.”
Although a final district game will finalize the Indians’ opponent, Bates said there’s a chance the boys and girls teams could play a double-header playoff game on Thursday at Mustang-Panther Stadium.
Fossil Ridge finished the season in fifth place, just behind Ryan for a playoff spot.
The Panthers’ Noah Powell finished in the top five area scorers with 21 goals.
Timber Creek was behind Ridge in sixth place, three standing points behind the Panthers.
Before the Falcons had to face Central in their final game of the season, Timber Creek knocked off Denton Guyer, 2-0, to help aid their season.