By TONY EIERDAM
For the third consecutive year both the Mineral Wells Lady Rams and Rams soccer teams have qualified for the Class 4A playoffs.
Schools in Class 3A compete in Class 4A districts and playoffs, although beginning next year MWHS and other Class 3A schools will be put in 3A districts and play for a 3A state championship.
But for the final year, MWHS will be competing for a 4A state championship beginning today.
The Lady Rams, who finished fourth in District 12-4A and have drawn a state-ranked Top 10 team the last three years in the bi-district round, will face No. 3 Guyer at 6 p.m. – the District 11-4A champion – at Boswell High School’s Pioneer Stadium.
MWHS soccer fans will have two matches to watch as the Rams will take on Birdville at Pioneer Stadium following the girls’ match at approximately 8 p.m.
The Lady Rams – for the third consecutive year – had to defeat Brewer in the district finale to secure the district’s final postseason berth.
Guyer comes into the match with a 21-1 record.
The Rams, the third-place team from District 12-4A, will face Birdville, the second-place team from District 11-4A. The Rams have won two of its past three matches, losing only 1-0 to Brewer in a contest the Bears needed to clinch fourth place. MWHS had already clinched third place coming into that match.
Birdville had to defeat Denton Guyer on Friday in the District 11-4A finale to secure second place.
Last year the Rams won the school’s first-ever soccer playoff match with a thrilling shootout victory where MWHS goalkeeper Caleb Bandy blocked all five shootout attempts.
The Rams will be counting on Bandy, now a senior, to stop the high-flying Guyer forwards. Bandy is on a roll of late, earning a pair of shutouts in two of his last three matches.
In fact, Bandy has been scored on only once in the past three matches, and that goal came on a penalty kick.
Rams head coach Rolando Borjon said Birdville is a similar team as the Rams.
“Birdville is a good team all-around and they have a very athletic goalkeeper,” Borjon said. “As I watched them Friday night I saw a lot of the same qualities we have in our team.
“We have an athletic ‘keeper and we are a good team all-around as well. I believe they have four seniors and we have 11 seniors.
“I believe that it will be a very even match in which the team that has more gas in the tank will come out victorious.
“I feel like we have some speed and power up top that we can take advantage of, but Birdville has a skilled midfield that can feed balls all night.
“So, I feel like we are two teams that reflect each others strengths and weakness. I just hope we are the team with the extra gas in the tank.
“We had a good week of practice and all week we have told the boys that (today) it’s win or go home.”
Lady Rams face Guyer, Rams square off against Birdville today in 4A soccer playoffs at Boswell High School
By TONY EIERDAM
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