Some athletes blame bad plays or missed opportunities on things other than themselves, but sometimes the uncontrollable elements really do play a role in tipping the scales.
Or in the case of Tuesday’s boys soccer Crosstown Showdown between McKinney High (8-4-4) and McKinney Boyd (6-4-5), tipping the ball.
A kick late in the game from Boyd’s Cody Spencer seemed meant to sail over the net, but a quick gust of wind slowed it down just enough to dip in, tying the game 1-1 with 2:48 left. The final minutes would remain scoreless, but after controlling the field all game, one flurry left the Lions with their heads down.This District 10-5A game was frigid for fans and coaches, but both boys teams kept the heat turned up on the field. The Lions started the game with a goal by forward David Soto, assisted by midfielder Tim Garcia. Both Soto and Garcia had other opportunities later in the game, but Boyd keeper Evan Davies was sturdy in net. Although the Lions still get points for the tie, Garcia and Soto were disappointed after being in control for most of the game.
“You know, after they scored, we just tried to motivate the team and keep pressure on Boyd,” Garcia said. “But we have to work on finishing out our games and never stopping.”
MHS coach Alan Pocock understood his team’s dismay at missing the win, but praised his players for overcoming some staggering odds and getting points out of the confrontation. The Lions have two starters out with injuries and also lost Garcia for a portion of the second half after hurting his back. The Broncos, who are ranked 10th in 5A, are a strong team and Pocock was especially proud with the physicality of players who haven’t seen as much playing time this year.
“[The weather] wasn’t pretty out there today, but the boys made it effective. I know they’re not happy about letting it up in the end, but that strong wind wasn’t doing us any favors,” Pocock said. “Boyd’s most effective gameplay is their free kicks and corner kicks, and we defended against that extremely well tonight.”
Even in the blistering cold wind, fans of both the Lions and Broncos braved the weather and cheered on their teams in the rivalry game. With Boyd joining the newly established 6A district next year, these frequent encounters could be coming to an end soon, but not before the crosstown rivals face off one more time. MHS will play at Boyd March 18, which is fittingly the last game for both teams’ regular season schedules. Heading forward, Pocock is confident in his team’s abilities and thinks every game here on out is just another step in playoff preparation.
“At the beginning of the season, if you would have told me we’d be where we’re at, missing who we’re missing, I never would have believed it,” Pocock said. “This district gets you ready for playoffs. If we can survive and win games like this we’ll be playoff ready.”
Photos by Sawyer Erickson and Jennifer Santos