THE COLONY — Through the first 40 minutes of Wednesday night’s Class 5A Region I bi-district playoff game between Guyer and Plano, there was an overwhelming feeling that Plano was going to take control of the game.
Whether it was some good breaks or outstanding play from Guyer’s defense and goalkeeper Landon Cooper, Guyer managed to hold the game scoreless through the first half after entering the game as the decided underdog as the fourth seed out of District 7-5A going up against Plano, the District 8-5A champions.
Four and a half minutes into the second half, Guyer’s good fortune ran out and its season ended in a 2-0 defeat.
“We went back and forth in the first 20 minutes and they started beating down on us,” Guyer head coach Cody Schroeder said. “They stuck with their game plan and we didn’t respond. They scored a great corner and it set the stage for the rest of the game, and they were gonna keep control of the tempo.”
Plano finally broke through with a quick flurry as Cooper punched out a point-blank shot from Plano’s Lukas Teese that eventually ended up as a Plano corner kick seconds later.
Michael Brezovsky headed the corner kick off of Cooper and into the back of the net to open the game’s scoring.
“We had to try to force the issue more and try to get forward,” Schroeder said of his strategy change after the first Plano goal. “We had some difficulty doing it. When you get down, you can’t sit back for very long. You have to try to respond and get back in the game, and we weren’t able to do that.”
More than 20 minutes later, Plano (15-3-7) scored again when Tony Santibanez made a run at goal and fired a shot from 15 yards out past Cooper for the game’s final score.
The first half was played mostly in Plano’s control. However, for every organized attack Plano put forth, Guyer (12-7-4) had an answer as Plano put six shots on goal to Guyer’s two in the first 40 minutes. Guyer finished with only three shots on goal in the game, one being a free kick from 23 yards out.
The first good opportunity came for Plano less than four minutes into the game when forward Ramon Gallegos took advantage of a Guyer turnover and had a run inside the box with a chance at a one-on-one battle with Cooper, but at the last second the ball was deflected out of play by a chasing Josh Bower in the Guyer defense.
“I felt good being 0-0 at halftime,” Schroeder said. “I felt that we’d have a chance to come out and get a break early and put them under some early pressure, but we just didn’t have the energy to get going. We sat back and let them take the attack to us early on. When you can get to halftime 0-0 in a playoff game, you feel good. We just didn’t have the ability to respond tonight.”
Perhaps Plano’s best two opportunities were still to come, and they were also shots by Gallegos.
With 12 minutes remaining in the half, Gallegos took a pass from Teese and had a wide open net to Cooper’s left. Gallegos hit a dribbler that rolled just inches wide of the goal. Five minutes later, Gallegos took a near-perfect pass to the front of the Guyer goal and tried to spin away from a charging Cooper, who wrestled the ball away from Gallegos to keep Plano off the scoreboard.
Guyer got its first solid scoring chance with 2:30 left in the first half when junior midfielder McKenna Cook trapped a pass with his chest and his back turned to Plano goalkeeper Kyle Johnson. Cook sent the ball to his feet, turned and hit a volley from about 20 yards out that rocketed just over the crossbar.
“It was definitely a lack of execution on our part and their pressure was too strong,” Schroeder said in regards to Guyer’s lack of offensive attack. “We just couldn’t break them down. We weren’t maintaining possession. We gave the ball away way too much.”
The game saw the end of the careers of 11 Guyer seniors, who were instrumental in getting Guyer back to the postseason after missing out last season in Guyer’s first year at the Class 5A level.
“They came in in the heyday of us having a good run at the 4A level and we had a difficult year last year,” Schroeder said. “We put them through a tremendous challenge to come back and try to get us to the playoffs, and they accomplished that at the 5A level. I’m extremely proud of that group.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .