The Midlothian Heritage High School varsity soccer team is the latest to make the playoffs in the school’s inaugural year.
Though the Jaguars will face Faith Family Academy at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Gopher-Warrior Bowl, Ben Buentello, the MHHS head soccer coach, is keeping his players focused on the “one game at a time” mantra.
“I want them to be hungry and motivated to make a deep run, definitely,” he said. “In saying that, we never look ahead to who we could or will face down the line. We always prepare for the very next opponent and playoffs are no different. We try to impress on our players weekly that we can’t control the outcome of any other games except the one we are about to play.”
To reach the playoffs, the MHHS boys shut out three of their final seven opponents, outscored their opposition 11 goals to five and avoided losing a match since Feb. 3.
Even with their hot streak, the Jags needed some help to finish second in district 8-4A. Despite Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School’s 3-0 win against Keene, the Jaguars needed the Eagles to lose to Kennedale and Alvarado High School to lose or tie Venus during the final district matches of the season.
Buentello said, much like their progress this season, their finish was a perfect storm of overcoming adversity, a little bit of help from Lady Luck and some good, old-fashioned, hard work.
“I think the success of our athletic program as a whole in this first year is a testament to many things,” Buentello said. “I think our administrators have done a fabulous job of building a staff of not only knowledgeable coaches, but also people who genuinely care about our kids. I also believe that the families and athletes themselves have committed time and resources outside of school with club teams, private lessons, etc. and they are now seeing the fruits of that commitment.”
He also said consistently building chemistry throughout the season helped the team to never take a step back and allowed players to get comfortable with their roles. He noted that game-by-game, his team began to “click,” which will be important during the first round because of Faith Family’s discipline and organization.
“I think it will be a good test to see how far we have come this year in facing a quality opponent early on in playoffs,” he continued. “We are only going to get bigger, so it is nice that this first group has been able to set a standard for other to follow. I think that is what will be important to the future growth of Heritage athletics.”
Follow Khris on Twitter at Khris5MarionWNI for team updates and contact the sports desk of the Midlothian Mirror with story ideas or concerns at (469) 517-1454 or at email@example.com.