MINERAL WELLS —
By TONY EIERDAM
In 2012, the Mineral Wells Rams soccer team achieved many “firsts” in head coach Rolando Borjon’s second season as the top man on the pitch.
The Rams beat perennial power Aledo (3-0) for the first time in school history, and the team not only finished in second place in a competitive district, but also won a playoff match – a first in school history.
That the Rams fell to state-finalist Wichita Falls Rider in the area round in no way took away from a successful and historical season.
But that was last year, and Borjon said nothing short of winning a district championship and advancing past the second round of the playoffs will do this year.
“In my eyes, and honestly, on paper, I would say we are the team to beat in district,” Borjon said. “Looking at the other teams in the district, we are the only school that has most of its starters coming back. Based on that, and based on how hungry I know our guys are, I would say it is us.”
Borjon’s teams have taken a step in each of his last two years as Rams’ head coach. In his first year, the Rams finished third in district and qualified for the playoffs, but lost in the first round.
This will also be the last season Class 3A schools like Mineral Wells and district-rival Springtown will have to compete against the Class 4A schools.
Beginning in 2014, the University Interscholastic League will begin a Class 3A division, meaning 3A schools can compete for a 3A state championship.
“We exceeded expectations in my first year here, and we took a step the next year,” Borjon said. “Now our goal is to take one more step – winning district and winning a second-round playoff match.
“After that it is just a plus. I am excited about this season, and the guys are excited.”
The Rams added an assistant coach, Eric Martinez, whose brother, Efran Martinez, is the head soccer coach at Weatherford High School. Martinez is a Tarleton State University graduate.
“Eric has a good soccer background, and he will be an extra set of eyes,” Borjon said. “Having an extra coach is always a plus.”
The Rams will have firepower up front as senior forward Gilbert Castorena and MWHS’ leading scorer from last year, junior forward Roberto Martinez, return. Martinez was voted as the district’s Offensive Most Valuable Player in 2012, while Castorena was an all-district, first-team selection.
“Gilbert saw a lot of double teams last year, so his scoring totals were just a little down,” Borjon said. “But when teams started doubling Gilbert last year, that opened it up for Roberto and Serjio and some others. Roberto came through last year, and now that teams know both of them I expect them to play Gilbert and Roberto pretty tight.
“I expect Gilbert to be like he was in football – run people over and be physical – and he will score his share of goals and dish out assists.”
Manning the middle and also a scoring threat is senior middle/forward Serjio Castillo, also a first-team, all-district choice last season.
“Serjio controls the middle,” Borjon said. “Not only does he do a good job of feeding the guys up top, but he is also a threat to score from anywhere. He is a big part of what we want to do.
“He has a big leg and can score from long range, and he also has the speed to help up front. He had a great offseason as he played for FC Dallas Academy.
“Also in the middle,” Borjon continued, “is Gerardo Moya (second-team, all-district in 2012), who brings a lot to the table. He is an outside midfielder who we will depend on to make outside runs. I am hoping he steps up like he did last year.
“We have scoring threats all around, and we feel we will be a tough team to defend.”
Other midfielders and forwards include seniors Roy Gomez – a second-round, all-district pick in 2012 – Adan Ortiz and Eric Parker; junior Colby Kissinger; sophomores Omar Hernandez and Carlos Villazana; and freshmen Jorey Plyler and Zach Gray.
The Rams’ defense also returns an experienced core in seniors Emiliano Silva, Dylan Pruitt, Bryan Flores and Jose Garcia. Also helping out in back will be sophomore Juan Andrade and freshman Jose Velasquez.
Silva earned first-team, all-district honors last season, while Flores and Pruitt made the all-district second team.
“Our defense has played well in our scrimmage matches,” Borjon said. “I feel in the last two years our defense has saved us many times, and that unit has improved greatly over the past two seasons.
“So far this year, defense is the area I am most pleased about. Those four guys – Dylan, Emiliano, Bryan and Jose Garcia – they have played with each other the last three years and are a solid unit, even though Jose took last year off.
“We lose Josh Snell (to graduation) from last year, but Jose will step in and take his place.”
The Rams will keep three goalkeepers this season, led by first-team, all-district performer Caleb Bandy. The athletic senior spent his summer improving his skills at Stanford University. Other goalkeepers are junior Kelly Williams and senior Juan Munoz.
“Caleb is a smart kid, he knows the game, and he does a good job of talking to the defense,” Borjon said. “He is like a coach on the field, which is important.
“He lets the kids know where they are supposed to be during play. He plays a big role with communicating with his teammates.”
Borjon said it is easier to coach this team as he enters his third year as head coach.
“I have had most of these kids for the past two years, and they have bought into my program,” Borjon said. “They are doing the things I have asked them to do, and because of the familiarity with the basics we can extend and expand our strategies.
“Our team chemistry gets stronger every year, and it is easy to coach these guys because they know the system.
“It is also easy to coach all of these seniors with the experience they have gained.
“I just sit back and let them play. I hope the kids have a great season this year, and I hope a lot of people will come out and support us.”
Rams’ soccer team looks at district title as one of many goals for 2013
MINERAL WELLS —
By TONY EIERDAM
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