By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (March 10, 2018) — First-year Taylor Smith has still not been proven wrong.
One-third the way through the District 4-4A season he vocalized his belief Stephenville had the best team in the league. The Yellow Jackets were just 1-2 at the time, and soon fell to 1-3 with a second loss to Mineral Wells.
But Smith believed his own words, and he kept his team believing it to.
The Jackets have since won three straight matches including victories over both first-place Abilene Wylie and second-place Mineral Wells, which they defeated soundly Friday by a 3-1 count at Lem Brock Field.
Luis Carrillo, Hunter Melton and JJ Saldana provided the goals as Stephenville began to look like a team playing its best soccer at the right time.
What has been the most significant difference in Stephenville the past three matches?
“Finishing. I think we’ve out-played all the teams in our district, it’s just been a matter of finishing opportunities,” answered Smith. “We are playing at a high level and the only thing holding us back right now is injuries.”
Now comes the tricky part in any high school season – staying sharp over a week off for spring break. The Yellow Jackets will certainly qualify for the playoffs in one of the top three positions with Brownwood finishing fourth, but to have a chance at a co-championship and No. 1 seed, winning at Wylie is required.
Wylie is 6-1, Stephenville 4-3 and Mineral Wells 4-3. The only Wylie loss was at Stephenville in the second round of district. It was a 3-3 draw that tipped in the favor of Stephenville by the slimmest of margins – 6-5 on PKs.
Stephenville visits Wylie on Tuesday, March 20, where a win would bring the Yellow Jackets within one match of the district leaders with one remaining for each. Stephenville hosts Brownwood on Friday, March 23.
Mineral Wells faces Brownwood on March 20 and Wylie on March 23.
Here are the scenarios for Stephenville (assuming both Stephenville and Mineral Wells win their remaining match against Brownwood):
-A- Stephenville is co-champion and No. 1 seed if Stephenville and Mineral Wells both defeat Wylie and Stephenville wins goals against tie breaker
-B-Stephenville is No. 2 seed if -A- happens and Stephenville is second in goals against or if Stephenville beats Wylie and Wylie beats Mineral Wells
-C- Stephenville is No. 3 seed if -A- happens and Stephenville is third in goals against or if Stephenville loses to Wylie