By TONY EIERDAM
FORT WORTH – All sports lay claim to be “a game of inches,” and Tuesday night’s Class 4A, bi-district soccer playoff match between the Mineral Wells Rams and Birdville Hawks could make that claim.
In a 1-0 Birdville win Tuesday night at Boswell’s Pioneer Stadium, the Hawks’ goal was scored up high and missed the outstretched hands of Rams’ goalkeeper Caleb Bandy by inches, and three late Mineral Wells scoring attempts missed the mark by an inch, with one attempt actually hitting the goal post.
But the game was won by the Hawks in the mid field. Birdville’s precise play in the middle of the field – with crisp, sure passing and very few ball-handling mistakes – kept the ball away from the high-scoring MWHS forwards for most of the match.
In fact, Bandy outplayed his Birdville counterpart. The athletic senior kept the Rams in the match by constantly making diving saves on the ground or using his 6-3 frame to stab balls headed for the upper reaches of the net.
But as time expired, the Rams’ final chance never made it to the ‘keeper as Birdville survived a one-goal match and will advance to the area playoffs to face Burkburnett.
“This (game of inches) is what happens in soccer,” Rams head coach Rolando Borjon said. “Our kids worked hard the entire 80 minutes, but unfortunately they finished a scoring chance and came out on top.
“But our group worked hard all year long, and I have nothing negative to say. These kids left everything they had on the field. They played their hearts out.”
Borjon said Birdville’s mid field play not only set the pace for the Hawks offensively, but also helped defensively.
“Birdville knew we are strong up top (forwards) with Gilbert (Castorena) and Omar (Hernandez), and their strategy was to keep possession as much as they could so we would have fewer offensive chances,” Borjon said. “Birdville executed its game plan well, and they are a very good team.”
The game was a scoreless tie at the half, but Birdville could have very easily been up 3-0.
Birdville tested Bandy early with three good scoring opportunities within a span of four minutes.
The first came at the 27:45 mark of the first half when Bandy made a pair of saves on shots form the box, the second on a rebound. Bandy used his height to thwart another scoring chance when he jumped and batted away a shot headed to the top shelf. The ball deflected off Bandy’s outstretched hand just inches over the cross bar.
Bandy came up with another brilliant save when he stopped a rebound off a corner kick. Bandy made one more diving save with 10:35 left in the first 40 minutes.
The Rams, frustrated because Birdville kept play in the middle with deft ball handling and pinpoint passing, had very few if any scoring chances in the first half.
At the beginning of the second half, Bandy came through again, stopping a shot from about seven feet out.
However, six minutes later at the 26:40 mark, Birdville forward Bryan Callejas sent a rising shot from about 25-30 yards out toward the Mineral Wells’ goal, but Bandy just missed tipping the shot as it cradled underneath the cross bar and into the net on the right side as the Hawks took a 1-0 lead.
Now with a high sense of urgency, the Rams put on offensive pressure and had three good scoring chances.
With 21:28 left to play, Roy Gomez sent a shot toward the upper-right corner of the net, but Birdville goalkeeper John McGuffin jumped up to deflect the ball an inch over the cross bar.
Six minutes later, Castorena appeared to have beaten the goalie with a shot from 20 yards out, but the ball hit the goal post and landed out of bounds.
A third good scoring chance happened with 11:05 left to play.
The Rams sent a corner kick to the middle of the Birdville net where McGuffin misplayed the ball.
The ball was loose in the box for an instant, but a Birdville defender booted the ball down field and away from trouble.
Bandy cane up with another diving save, and in the final minute the Rams had one last charge down the field but could not come up with a shot on goal as Birdville survived for a 1-0 win.
Borjon will lose 11 seniors including Castorena, Serjio Castillo, Bandy, Roy Gomez, Gerardo Moya, Dylan Pruitt, Bryan Flores, Adan Ortiz, Emiliano Silva, Eric Parker and Jose Garcia.
“I really feel for the seniors,” Borjon said. “I came here three years ago when they were sophomores, and they bought into the program. It will be hard to replace these seniors, especially when you consider there are 11 of them.
“But what is more important than soccer is that these seniors go on to be successful in life and good citizens.”
Mere inches the difference in Rams’ 1-0 loss to Birdville in soccer playoffs
By TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
No football for CCS in 2014
After a series of administrative meetings from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning, Community Christian School's head football coach and athletics director, Bryan Horton, announced that the Warriors' varsity team will not suit up for football in 2014 due to a shortage of student athletes.
Swimming to State
KELLER – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins are heading to the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation's state meet in College Station, July 31-Aug. 3, after an outstanding performance in the Region 4 Championships that saw seven local swimmer qualify.
Mineral Wells summer track sends 11 to state meet after strong regionals
THE COLONY – The future continues to look bright for Mineral Wells track and field, as 11 members of legendary head coach Jackie Harvey's summer track club punched their tickets to the TAAF state meet in College Station – to be held July 31-Aug. 3 – after a dominant showing at the regional meet in The Colony, July 18-19.
FWIW: Good, clean hate – Ranking the area's best rivalry games of the 2014 football season
By CLINT FOSTER
Football season is fast approaching and with it those glorious games between teams that love to hate each other, which we call rivalries.
I'm speaking, of course, about sports hate – the only beautiful kind. It's the stuff built on history and tradition that inspires simply the fiercest and most entertaining games of every season.
Palo Pinto County and the surrounding area have no shortage of fierce football rivalries.
The University Interscholastic League's realignment often causes new rivalries to be born and old ones to be rekindled. But which rivalries are the area's very best for 2014? The one's you circle your calendar for and make sure you don't miss.
I can think of at least 10.
So, for what it's worth, here's my list of the area's best, can't-miss football rivalries of the upcoming 2014 season.
Local Bowlers Roundup set for first weekend of August
Mineral Wells Women's Bowling Alliance invites you to join them Aug. 3 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Mountaineer Lanes for their second annual Bowlers Roundup. The event will feature snacks, tips from the pros, information on league bowling and two hours of great exercise.
Something in the water
Mineral Wells is well known as the home of Crazy Water, and by all accounts the city's swim team went absolutely berserk in their one and only home meet of the summer on Saturday.
Throughout the summer, the Mineral Wells Rams have been hard at work preparing for football season.
Hooks and Slices 7/11
In the Holiday Hills Country Club Guys and Dolls tournament, locals Denny and Sherry Hall turned in rounds of 77 and 73 to take first place in the opening round and second place on Sunday in the fourth flight. George and Linda Hutton turned in two solid rounds to place both days. The twosome shot 71 and 72 to take first place on Saturday and second place on Sunday in the second flight.
GRAPEVINE – The Mineral Wells High School cheerleaders attended the Universal Cheerleaders' Association's cheer camp in Grapevine two weeks ago and proved that spirit will definitely be high at every Rams and Lady Rams sporting event this coming school year.
Millsap selects Lee as new head volleyball coach
MILLSAP – The board of trustees at Millsap ISD recently announced their hire of Denise Lee as the new head volleyball coach for Millsap High School.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- No football for CCS in 2014