Jesuit, Frisco Wakeland head to state

DFW-area teams look to make history in state tourney

frisco-wakeland

Photo Credit: 
Don Sparks

Two local boys’ high school teams, Dallas Jesuit and Frisco
Wakeland, head to the state tournament later this week looking to make history.
Jesuit (23-0) looks to become the first private school to win a UIL
championship and also to finish the year unbeaten. Wakeland (26-2-3), on the
other hand, looks to win the Class 4A title in just their fourth year of
existence and first trip to state.

Jesuit’s
run to the 5A state tournament has seen them win twice via shootout, including
last Saturday against El Paso Bel Air. In the area round, the Rangers also
advanced with a shootout win over Coppell.

Having
such close wins is good and bad according to Jesuit head coach Charles DeLong.

“On
one hand, you say we’re battle-tested and we know what it’s like to compete
with everything on the line on one play,” he said. “We know how to come back
one goal down. Those are all good things. We talked today (Tuesday) that since
the playoffs started, we haven’t played well. Some of that is because of other
teams getting after us and we’ve lost our edge a little bit. Now, we’re still
competing and fighting but that edge where we’re knocking the ball around,
being creative and playing with some excitement to the attacking part of our
game hasn’t been quite what it was during the season.”

In
fact, Jesuit has scored more than one goal just twice in their five playoff
games. In the opening round against Duncanville they won 5-0, and in the
regional quarterfinals, the Rangers handed Flower Mound Marcus a 2-1 defeat.

Now
they face Austin Westlake (19-5-3), a team very similar to Marcus, at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Georgetown.

“A
friend of mine was giving me the lowdown on them. He saw them play a couple of
times,” DeLong said. “They sound very much like Marcus. They’re very athletic
and very competitive. They like to score from free kicks, so we have to be on
our toes there. They’ve got two or three really good players and the rest are
good players. Apparently, they’ve got a very good goalie. We’ll have our hands
full.”

While
the Jesuit coach and his team are focused first on beating Westlake, there is
still no denying what it would mean to win state.

“Well,
it would be great. We’d like to make history,” DeLong said. “That would be fantastic.
To win a state championship, public or private, is great. To say we’re the
first private school to do it, that probably makes it better. It’d be a nice
completion of the circle that started back in the 60s when Jesuit was the only
high school soccer team public or private.”

Frisco
Wakeland is also looking to make some history of their own. The Wolverines
advanced last weekend by defeating Richardson Pearce 1-0 on Friday and shutting
out Kilgore 2-0 on Saturday to earn their first-ever trip to state. Wakeland
has not allowed a goal in their first five playoff games.

“The
confidence level is extremely high right now. Anytime you haven’t given up a
goal in the playoffs so far, I guess you’re doing something right,” Wakeland
head coach Rusty Oglesby said. “We really feel comfortable with where we’re
going right now, with what our plan is and we’re not trying to change too much
as we keep going. We’re trying to keep things as normal as possible as we get
ready. Not giving up a goal is a huge deal and I think it’s becoming a pride
thing for the whole team, not just those back three or four players. Now,
nobody wants to give up that goal.”

In
both of those wins, the Wolverines got the game-winning tally from a somewhat
unlikely source- junior defender Casey Cantor. Before Friday, Cantor hadn’t
scored the entire year but he delivered the winner against Pearce and again in
the regional final with Kilgore.

“He’s
got a phenomenal shot and he’s a very talented kid. He’s always enjoyed getting
the assists more,” Oglesby said. “He’s never cared about scoring. He just does
his thing and wants to see more kids score goals. He was faced with two
opportunities this weekend, one was at his feet and he didn’t have a choice but
to put it in the back of the net. The second one, because he was working hard
and has such a great shot, it deflected and went into the goal. I think we’ll
start seeing a more dangerous kid as we go into the state tournament because
he’s had two goals in the back of the net and what huge goals they were. We
already know what he can do to get the ball to other kids. I think we’re going
to see some good things from him this weekend. If I had to name an MVP for the
regional tournament, it would be him.”

After
winning their first two playoff games by a combined score of 9-0, Wakeland got
a wakeup call in the sectional round against Frisco, a game the Wolverines won
1-0 in double overtime.

“The
game worked out the way we wanted it to. They packed in, played very smart and
were coached well,” Oglesby said. “It was a great wakeup call to change our
philosophy a little bit but to also show us we can’t just show up and expect
things a certain way. We have to impose our will if we want things to go a
certain way.”

On
Friday at 6 p.m., his team will face Dripping Springs (23-2-3), a team the
Wakeland coach is very familiar with.

“We
know that they have a forward that is the 2009 Central Texas Player of the Year
named Chris Tyrpak. He had 37 goals as a junior and I’m pretty sure he’s over
30 goals this year,” Oglesby said. “They won 23 games and only lost two. You
don’t win 23 without doing something right along the way. When I was the head
coach at Marble Falls, Dripping Springs was in the same district with us. So
I’m very familiar with the type of players they are. They have a great work
ethic and will remind us a lot of Richardson Pearce and how they played us in
the regional semifinals.”

Two
area girls’ teams also head to state this weekend. In Class 4A, defending state
champion Richardson Pearce (22-4-2) will face Canyon Randall (18-3-2) in a
state semifinal on Friday at 11 a.m. The defending girls’ champion in Class 5A
is McKinney Boyd (27-0-3) and the Lady Broncos will face Katy Seven Lakes
(18-8-2) on Thursday at 11 a.m.