Not since 2011 have the L.D. Bell Raiders and Lady Raiders gone to the soccer playoffs in the same season.
It will take some doing, but both teams entered this week with the possibility of that happening.
The Raiders entered this week in fourth place in District 7-6A. They didn’t get the playoff-clinching win against Haltom they desired last Friday, but they got the next best thing, a 1-1 tie that left them in fourth place, still ahead of the Buffalos.
The Raiders (8-4-5 overall, 3-4-4 in district) will host Southlake Carroll, the third-place team in 7-6A, Friday, with Bell seeking its first postseason berth since 2013. In the meantime, Haltom was playing at Carroll Tuesday and hosts district-leading Coppell, the No. 1 team in the state according to Maxpreps, Friday.
If the Buffs drop both of those games, the Raiders would still finish fourth even with a loss to Carroll.
As for the Lady Raiders (8-10-4, 3-4-3), a lack of offense caught up with them late in the season. Nonetheless, there still existed a long-shot possibility of a playoff berth as this week began.
They need a win at district-leading Carroll Friday, combined with losses by Richland at Trinity on Tuesday and at home to Colleyville Heritage.
“Losing Savannah McGill to a concussion before our game against Richland has made things difficult,” said Lady Raiders coach Corey Rolf. McGill, the team’s leading scorer with 14 goals, was in a car wreck.
Defensively, the Lady Raiders have been sterling this season. They have nine shutouts and have surrendered a single goal in five other games. During one stretch in district, they posted four straight shutouts, but only scored four goals, with two of the games being 0-0 ties.
The Raiders’ defense has also been solid. While they have just one shutout, they have given up a single goal seven times.
Raiders coach Scott Campbell said he’s pleased with the season but added, “We have let a few games slip away that we should have won, and I hope that this does not cost us a playoff spot.”
Should the Raiders advance to the postseason, it looks like unbeaten Duncanville (17-0-7 entering the week), Maxpreps’ No. 10 Class 6A team in the state, awaits. The Panthers have reached the regional quarterfinals the past three seasons.
Jonathan Rivera is Bell’s leading goal scorer with 14, while Dan Kamba had seven goals and four assists before Tuesday’s game.
If things fall the Lady Raiders’ way, perennial playoff qualifier Mansfield (14-2) is the likely bi-district candidate.
Both the Raiders and Lady Raiders have been consistent home and away. The Raiders are 4-2-3 at home and 4-2-2 on the road, while the Lady Raiders are 4-6-3 at home and 4-4-1 on the road.