Friday night at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium was a scene directly out of a horror film. As the night rolled on, the fog — sometimes so thick the opposing fans could not see each other — rolled in.
Donning their white home kits, the Waxahachie Indian soccer team eerily resembled ghosts of the night. They even played the role, serving as the antagonists in the 1-nil defeat of district-frontrunner Midlothian Panthers.
Rolando Nieto banged home the game-winning goal in the 73rd minute.
"I feel like we've been playing in England," said Waxahachie head boys' soccer coach Seth Riley of the torrential rain Tuesday and extreme fog Friday.
Riley explained the fog — though thick — was not necessarily too much different than what the Indians often work through during early-morning practices.
"That part doesn't affect us as much. I think the only thing effects us is having five sophomores on the field going against a senior-heavy team with good, quality players," said Riley about the Panther side. "Really the adjustment is those guys playing and getting used to that speed. The weather, now Tuesday was a different story. You can't adjust to that. That is just something that you are going to have to endure and get the 80 minutes in if you can."
The loss was the first for the Panthers since Jan. 21 against Burleson Centennial (1-0). Midlothian had not previously lost in District 10-5A and now sits at 8-1-0 in district play and 12-4-1 on the season. The Panthers entered last week as the seventh-ranked team in the TASCO 5A Region II poll.
On Tuesday, Waxahachie tied Red Oak 2-2 with goals from Nieto (Josh Duarte assist) and Jordan Beechum (Nieto assist). The tie combined with the Friday win picked up three crucial points for the Indians, who are now 6-2-1 in district action (13 points) and 9-4-2 on the season.
Waxahachie still sits in second place in District 10-5A and two points clear of third-place Mansfield Lake Ridge. Mansfield Summit is in fourth place with nine points.
"This is a big win for us when it comes to, kind of, separating us from the teams that are on our heels," Riley explained. "The opportunity for us to catch Midlothian is going to be difficult, but the win helps us close that gap and makes it a possibility. Right now we are hoping to just play good soccer and make sure that. not only do we get in [the playoffs], but get in playing good quality soccer."
Waxahachie travels to Mansfield to face the Legacy Broncos, while the Panthers host Mansfield Lake Ridge. Both matches are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith