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Boys soccer: Broncos, Bobcats shine on defense in draw

Profile image for By Patrick Hayslip / Staff Writer
By Patrick Hayslip / Staff Writer

It’s the time of the season when the Denton Broncos are hoping they are hitting on all cylinders, and Friday’s matchup at Bronco Field against district-leading Trophy Club Nelson served as a litmus test.

Each team had its offensive chances, but defense was the prevailing theme in a scoreless draw.

“It’s frustrating that we play in such a hotly contested district,” Denton coach Scott Heffley said of District 11-4A. “There are no games off. That said, it makes every game exciting. We wanted to come in and get a win, especially in our home opener, but we knew that would be a tough task facing Byron Nelson. We’re playing better soccer at this point, and this is the time of year that we need to be playing our best soccer.”

The Bobcats, last year’s district champions, entered the game after posting 1-0 wins over Lake Dallas and Guyer to open district play. The Broncos (4-7-3, 0-1-2 district) allowed only a handful of chances, most of which were easily controlled by Denton goalkeeper Christian Rodriguez.

“Our goalkeeper was fantastic,” Heffley said. “He wasn’t asked to do much, and every time he needed to step up, he did it. For the defense, it was probably the best game we played, and that’s saying a lot. We put a lot of trust in our defense. I thought Zack Farmer had a fantastic game. He read the game better than he ever has, and he stepped up and cut off a lot of plays.

“Defensively, against a very attack-minded team, it was about as good as we could have played. ... You can’t ask for much more than to hold Byron Nelson scoreless.”

Most of the Bobcats’ shots came from outside, and the most tenuous moments of the game came in the second half.

In the 48th minute, the Bobcats (14-1-1, 2-0-1) had a third consecutive corner kick that found its way close to Rodriguez, who came out to play the ball aggressively. A rebound off his hand was rifled back toward the crossbar, but Braeden Petrie was spry with a deflection at the goal line to keep the game scoreless.

“That was a fantastic opportunity for them,” Heffley said. “When you give a good team opportunities on corner kicks, you’re always in danger of giving up a goal, and to give up three consecutively, we were playing with fire.”

After falling to Guyer 2-0 and tying Birdville, the Broncos are looking for improved offense to compete for a playoff spot.

“We created some opportunities and I think we were one pass away from creating a great opportunity, so that’s where we want to be,” Heffley said.

PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.