KEENE, Texas — The Jaguars not only won their sixth district game of the season against Keene High School on Friday at Charger Stadium, but it also notched a third consecutive shutout victory.
Midlothian Heritage High School (13-7, 6-1), with the help of a freshman phenom, some senior star power and crafty goalkeeping by Kollin Koethe, blanked Keene 1-0.
"Our team has a 'total pressing' concept. That means we are always trying to win the ball back wherever it is lost on the field — not just in the defensive half," Jaguar Head Coach Ben Buentello said. "That mentality has helped us avoid bad situations in front of our own goal. It's especially helpful since we haven't scored as much as earlier in the season. We've also had our lowest number of shots against all season and Kollin has come up big for us in net — recording three consecutive shutouts doesn't hurt our chances — when he is called upon and when we need him most."
Though it allowed five goals during a 5-3 decision to Life Oak Cliff High on Feb, 3. It was only their seventh defeat of the season and first in District 8-4A.
In the previous 21 games, the Jaguars allowed 60 goals — a little less than three a match.
"After the one loss, I told the boys I was proud of them," Buentello said. "I told them that in a district like this, it would be very hard to anyone to go undefeated. That has turned out to be true as the top three teams have all dropped at least one match. The boys have responded well and put themselves in a situation to allow us to still be in the hunt for a district championship."
Since the loss, Midlothian Heritage outscored their last three opponents 4-0.
While the majority of those goals came via goals by Garrett Garvin (3) and Nick McRay (1), others came from Gunner Ponivas (1), Travis Floyd (1) and Brad Needham (1) during a wild shootout finish over Venus High School. Ponvias (2) and Cameron Moore assisted on three of the scores.
The Jaguars, which have two goals leaders Garvin (10 g) and Austin Terry (20 g) and are among the state's best 4A boys' teams, were scheduled to face Faith Family Academy at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday at M.I.S.D. Multi-Purpose Stadium after press time.
Buentello said wins against both Faith Family and Life Waxahachie High School — talented teams fighting for playoff spots — only strengthens his team as the district nears the end of the regular season.
"I believe our district makes a very strong argument as the toughest district in class 4A," he said. "Life School Oak Cliff is ranked No. 4 in the state and both us and Alvarado are in the top 10 in the region. We have players in this district that would start or get significant playing time on teams in any classification, too. I think our district will have multiple teams advance past the first round and I predict 8-4A to be represented at the state tournament this year. For us, finishing first would certainly help our path through playoffs, but everyone knows that anything can happen and 'bad' teams don't make the post-season. We just have to take things one match at a time."
Marcus S. Marion can be reached for story idea submissions or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI.