FEBRUARY 1, 2020
Loud cheers from Coppell are quickly silenced as gloved hands brush the creases of the soccer ball before fully grasping it. The Cowboys dissent on the result of senior midfielder Sebastian Blaas’ free kick, but soon accept the ball was stopped just centimeters from the goal.
The score remains 0-0 as it stayed for the rest of the match as Coppell tied Lewisville on Friday at Buddy Echols Field.
“When it went over the wall, we instantly thought it was a goal by the way it was coming down, just the look of it,” Coppell coach James Balcolm. “The keeper, for a bigger guy, he got down to that corner, which kind of surprised me a little bit, but sometimes games are that close. That goes in, it’s a completely different game.”
The Cowboys kicked off to a slow start but brought it back up in the second half, in contrast to last week’s match where Hebron surged in the second half.
“At the beginning, we were struggling a little bit and there were some miscommunications from the defense, but in the end, we played well, started taking shots at the goal,” Coppell sophomore goalkeeper Arath Valdez said. “We missed some opportunities even then, but what was important was we came back and worked together.”
Although the team was disappointed with its tie, this game illustrates their possibility of success in the future. The Fighting Famers are currently second in District 6-6A play and tying with them is key in making their spot in the playoffs.
Another notable aspect of the game was the dynamic between the Coppell head coach and the referee of the match.
“The ref is a high-level ref and we had a little history last year,” Balcolm said. “He was ready to give it to me as soon as I said anything and there it was. We talked, we worked it out and hopefully, it’s not something we have to deal with moving forward.”
This week’s game showed progress for the Cowboys, according to Balcolm.
“I felt like we had the game in control at Hebron, just three letdowns and good players taking advantage of that,” Balcolm said. “I think we did a much better job of that tonight, limiting those mental mistakes and we got the clean sheet. We created some opportunities late, so we’ve got to be better all 80 minutes.”
On Tuesday, the Cowboys will play long-time rivals Marcus, from which the team expects a heated match and more balanced halves.
“It’s a good learning experience, not getting the result we wanted and there’s a lot of stuff we can take from this game, negatives, and positives, especially the first half,” Blaas said. “We’re going to go through the film, see where we were weak and where our strong points were and try to implement it Monday morning before Tuesday’s game. If we get the win, that’ll be huge and put us back in first or second place.”