The District 11-4A playoff chase is, to say the least, murky. Adding in another tie doesn’t make it clearer.
That’s exactly what happened on Friday night, though, as Denton and Birdville finished in a 1-1 tie at Bronco Field. Both teams came into the game with identical district records and in the middle of a four-team logjam behind district leader Trophy Club Nelson. Guyer started the day Friday at 3-3 in district play, with Argyle (2-3-1) not far behind.
“It [tie] is indicative of this district and how even everyone truly is,” Denton coach Scott Heffley said. “It’s this way every year, and it typically comes down to the last game to determine who makes the playoffs.”
Denton (6-8-4, 2-2-3 district) had the Hawks (8-8-3, 2-2-3) on their heels for the majority of the game, and it only seemed like a matter of time before the Broncos would put multiple shots into the back of the net. Instead, the offensive explosion turned into a defensive battle with the Broncos finding themselves playing from behind.
Birdville struck first when Jared Delagado got behind the defense and scored with 5:10 left in the first half as he edged Denton goalkeeper Christian Rodriguez in a foot race to the ball. Up to that point, the Hawks had just two shots on goal.
Conversely, Denton — which had outscored its previous two opponents 9-2 — had three quality shots on goal within the first nine minutes and eight by halftime.
With 36:42 left in the game, Denton’s Michael Husbands pushed a pass to teammate Chris Torres, who glided across the face of the goal and slipped the ball into the far left corner of the net.
The goal intensified the Broncos’ efforts to steal the win, but they just couldn’t get anything to go through. With 18:55 left, Torres took another crack on goal, only to see his shot sail over the top crossbar. With just over six minutes to play, Sam ReCalderon had his direct shot on goal saved by the Birdville keeper.
For the game, the Hawks were outshot 15-11 thanks to a flurry of shots on goal in the closing minutes of play. Birdville’s last-ditch shot with 43 seconds left went off the left post and Denton cleared the ball to preserve the tie.
“We just weren’t forcing their defense enough, and we slipped back into some of our old habits tonight,” Heffley said. “Birdville is a good team, and they had chances, too. We’re actually pretty fortunate they didn’t put one in on us at the end there.”