A simple look at the current District 11-4A boys standings isn’t enough to determine which teams will be playing next week in the postseason and which ones will be sitting at home.
Entering today’s final games of the regular season, Guyer could finish as high as second place in the standings, or they could wind up in fifth and miss the postseason completely. The same goes for Denton. Even Argyle, which currently sits in fifth place and out of the playoffs, could wind up in third or fourth with the right results and a tiebreaker in its favor.
The only certainty entering today’s games is that Trophy Club Nelson is the district champ and its top seed in the postseason. After that, it’s all up in the air.
“There’s a lot to be said for already having a spot secured, but it also gives you an opportunity to play with your backs against the wall like it will be in the playoffs,” Guyer head coach Cody Schroeder said. “Knowing if you win, you can play again is a good feeling. It adds some intrigue. Second to fifth [place] can change. There’s three teams fighting for last two playoff spots.”
There are several scenarios that could play out involving Guyer, Denton, Birdville and Argyle.
Denton (7-8-5, 3-2-4) is in second place with 10 points. Guyer and Birdville are currently tied for third place with nine points apiece, and Argyle is in fifth place with eight points.
Guyer (8-11-2, 4-4-1) travels to North Richland Hills today to play Birdville. Denton goes to Corinth to play last-place Lake Dallas, and Argyle closes the season at home against Nelson.
A Guyer win or tie or an Argyle loss would give the Wildcats a playoff berth.
A Denton loss, Argyle win and Guyer-Birdville tie would send the district into full chaos, as all four teams would end the season with 10 points. In that scenario, Guyer would take second place, Birdville would have third and Argyle would finish fourth via tiebreakers, with Denton missing the postseason after entering the day in second place.
“It speaks to the competitiveness of our district,” Denton head coach Scott Heffley said. “It’s nothing short of what we expected. Every year it’s been like this where you have five strong teams and four playoff spots. Credit to Byron Nelson for separating themselves, but those other four teams have all been in a bunch.
“We just have to go out and play our best soccer, and we’ve talked about playing your best soccer as the year goes on, and this is where we want to be.”
Argyle (15-4-4, 3-4-2) would seem to have the toughest road as it plays host to the top-seeded Bobcats, but last season the Eagles notched their only district win over district champion Nelson in the regular-season finale with nothing to play for but pride. Now, the Eagles have their playoff lives to play for.
A draw could get Argyle in, but only with a Guyer loss to Birdville and some other help.
“I think the boys know that it’s not a forgone formality that we’re out,” Argyle head coach Daniel Lundy said. “They know they have a chance. They look at last year and they know they have a shot in their last game. That’s all we want — a shot in our 10th game. Having beaten them last year helps tremendously as far as our confidence goes.”
Schroeder, whose Guyer team beat Birdville 3-0 in their previous meeting a month ago, said his team has been playing with a playoff mentality for a while now, and that will have to be their approach in tonight’s regular-season finale, where a win will have them in the postseason without worrying about what other teams do.
Schroeder said his team has been playing with a postseason mentality since its game against Argyle on March 4, which ended in a tie.
The mental approach carried over to a 1-0 win over Lake Dallas on March 7, which was then a must-win game.
“We’ve had one-game playoffs against Argyle and Lake Dallas, and now a win puts us in without having to rely on anyone else,” Schroeder said.
So, there are four teams in the same situation, but only three will be playing after tonight.
“I know it’s kept the boys’ mind set in the fact they have a chance,” Lundy said. “Looking at all the scenarios gets a little dizzying. I’d like to have it in hand, but it does add some intrigue to it.”
Berths all but wrapped up
On the girls’ side of the 11-4A standings, the playoff picture is far less muddled.
Nelson and Guyer, the defending Class 4A champions, are tied for first in 11-4A with 14 points each. Lake Dallas holds a one-point lead over Argyle for the fourth and final playoff spot.
Guyer (14-2-3, 6-1-2) closes out the regular season at 7 p.m. today at home against Birdville, the only district team to defeat the Lady Wildcats this season.
Guyer head coach Kenny Blevins said if Nelson and Guyer finish the regular season tied as co-champions, the Lady Wildcats will enter the postseason with the district’s second seed. Blevins isn’t too concerned about that.
“Once you’re in the playoffs, you just have to win every game,” Blevins said. “You can’t worry about what seed you are.”
Argyle needs at least a tie and some help from Denton (4-10-1, 0-7-2) in order to have a chance at the postseason. The Lady Eagles (13-9-2, 2-6-1) need Denton to either tie or beat Lake Dallas (11-6-4, 2-5-2) in order to stay within striking distance of the Lady Falcons.
Lake Dallas is in control of its own destiny. A win puts the Lady Falcons in the postseason.
Blevins said the district the 11-4A teams will have to face in the first couple of playoff rounds are vastly improved from last year. He said the path may be difficult for the defending 4A champions, but it could be another fun run for the Lady Wildcats.
“It’s going to be a very tough road,” Blevins said. “It’s going to be very exciting. Hopefully with these guys, it’ll kindle a fire they had going last year and they can make some magic happen.”
Staff writer Ben Baby contributed to this report.
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.
Trophy Club Nelson
NOTE: 2 points for win, 1 point for tie
Guyer at Birdville, 7 p.m.
Trophy Club Nelson at Argyle, 7:30 p.m.
Denton at Lake Dallas, 7:15 p.m.
Trophy Club Nelson at Argyle, 5:30 p.m.
Birdville at Guyer, 7 p.m.
Lake Dallas at Denton, 7:15 p.m.