Argyle boys head coach Daniel Lundy concedes that his team put itself in its current situation.
But despite the squad’s current place in the District 11-4A standings, his team’s current situation is far beyond where the Eagles were a year ago.
With two games left in the regular season, Argyle remains one of four teams vying for the final three playoff berths in District 11-4A. Argyle, Denton, Guyer and Birdville are separated by two points, the same amount of points awarded for a win.
“We put ourselves in this situation, but we still have a pretty good chance,” Lundy said. “Everybody needs every point in these last two games, with everybody jumbled up like they are.”
Argyle and Denton both hope to pick up some vital points in tonight’s game (7:30) at Bronco Field.
Trophy Club Nelson has already clinched the district title, while Birdville sits in second place with nine points. Argyle and Denton each have eight points, while Guyer has seven points and is in fifth place, one spot outside of the playoff picture.
Lundy knows his team had its chance to avoid a tight finish. Earlier this season, the Eagles (15-3-3, 3-3-2 district) enjoyed a 2-0 halftime lead over last-place Lake Dallas. But the Falcons rallied in the second half and pulled off the 3-2 win for the team’s only points in district play.
Considering what Argyle went through last year, the team’s playoff hopes are certainly welcomed.
The Eagles only won three games last year and lost six of seven district games by one goal, Lundy said. The team’s lone win came against Nelson, the district champions.
This year’s squad has 12 seniors on the roster, including a couple of players who had not been on the pitch in a while.
Senior Colton Hinnrichs, who’s headed to Central Oklahoma on a football scholarship, has joined the soccer team after a layoff that stretches back to middle school. Hinnrichs, the defensive MVP in Argyle’s Class 3A Division II state championship victory, has started all year on defense.
Senior Colton Wilkes is fresh off basketball season and also joined Argyle’s group of defenders.
“That’s the great thing about being in a smaller town is that as soon as one season’s over, we’re rolling into the next one. And the coaches here are great about sharing [players],” Lundy said.
The multi-sport players join a squad led by senior forward Brian Williams, senior goalkeeper Ricky Pool and senior defender Wade Barton. The Eagles picked up a 1-0 win against Denton earlier this season behind the strength of an early goal, but Lundy said his team will need to play better tonight if it wants to pick up valuable points against a surging Denton team.
“I think that we caught them in a counter and scored that goal early, and to be quite honest, I feel like they outplayed us in hustling to the ball,” Lundy said. “We watched the film and we realized they’re all correctable mistakes. I feel pretty good about [tonight].”
Guyer looking to
eliminate bad habits
For Guyer to maintain its hopes of cracking the district’s top four spots, it will have to eradicate mistakes that have haunted the team in the past.
Fouls committed at bad times, failing to clear balls out of its own penalty box and defensive breakdowns are things Wildcats head coach Cody Schroeder said makes things difficult in an already taxing district.
“Every game has been a close game,” Schroeder said. “There haven’t been many blowouts throughout the district, and for us personally, we keep reverting back to some mistakes we just can’t get away from.”
Guyer (7-11-2, 3-4-1 district) faces Lake Dallas at 7 tonight at home with a chance to stay in the playoff chase.
Senior forward Luis Muro has played a key role for the Wildcats. Muro has tallied four goals in the past five games, and he and the rest of his teammates will try to keep Guyer from missing the playoffs for the first time in three years.
The Wildcats will close the season with a big game against Birdville, and Schroeder said his team will have to defeat a scrappy Lake Dallas squad to have a shot of making the postseason.
“We’re going to have to worry about winning that one game to position ourselves in the last game to have a chance to get one of those last spots and to eliminate those mistakes,” Schroeder said. “We know what they are. We’ve identified them. Now it’s up to the players to go and correct them.”
Ryan girls looking for continued progress
The Ryan girls’ record might not indicate it, but those around the team believe the Lady Raiders have vastly improved from a season ago in the first year under head coach Brian Beddow. In one of the state’s strongest 5A districts, Ryan (8-8-2, 0-6-1 District 5-5A) has shown that this year’s squad has developed.
“Honestly, I knew it was going to be a tough situation getting into it with the district we were in. I think we’ve come a long way from where we were at in August,” Beddow said. “We just talked about that as a team [Wednesday]. They certainly feel like that, too.”
The Lady Raiders look to pick up their first district win since 2012 when they play Lewisville at 7:30 tonight at home.
Last season, Ryan’s offense failed to score a goal in 5-5A play. A couple weeks ago, the Lady Raiders battled back from a 2-0 deficit and salvaged a 3-3 tie against Flower Mound.
Senior Kat Knabe has scored three of the team’s five district goals this season, while junior Carissa Sanders and freshman Brittany Eccles have also helped spark the offense.
With three games to go and the playoffs out of the picture, Beddow said his team has not given up on the season, and he’s happy about that. He said the next three games will be about developing as a program and using the rest of the season as a springboard for next year.
“When the season is going the way it is in district, you have to look for those little baby steps of positive signs,” Beddow said. “Certainly the wins and losses aren’t any better at this point than they were last year. We’ve found some offense against some really good teams, and it’s just something to build on.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.