By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (April 4, 2016) — First year Stephenville boys soccer head coach Chayden Feist told his team one thing concerning the surprise loss by Bridgeport to Pampa in the area round of the Region I-4A playoffs Saturday.
“Don’t let that be us,” Feist repeated in a Monday morning interview with The Flash. “That’s just how soccer goes. You better come ready to compete no matter who you’re playing, and I think and hope that game opened our eyes and prevents us from doing the same.”
There is no doubt everyone expected to be seeing Stephenville and Bridgeport in a rubber match in the Region I-4A quarterfinals. Stephenville is undefeated with two draws on the season, and they both came against Bridgeport just three days apart in early February.
But Bridgeport blew leads in both regular time and extra time Saturday, allowing goals off long throw ins by Pampa each time. Pampa won the penalty kick shootout following the 2-2 tie, and meets the Yellow Jackets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Wichita Falls ISD Memorial Stadium.
But Feist warns, the Pampa win over Bridgeport was not an upset like those sports fans have come to adore in the NCAA basketball tournament. Pampa is here for a reason, he says.
“They are an extremely physical, athletic bunch, but more football athletic than soccer athletic,” Feist said. “They scored both their goals (against Bridgeport) on long throw-ins, so I think if we defend the long throw-ins we will be fine.”
Feist has a different plan of attack against Pampa than what was enacted in the 3-1 victory over Borger in the area round and even in the 2-0 bi-district win over Decatur.
“This week we’re focusing on not being as aggressive so soon, work the ball around and then attack versus attack, attack, attack,” he said. “We have to be patient.”
Feist, and anyone else who has watched Stephenville dominate this season, likes what he has seen from his unbeaten club.
“Everyone’s healthy and we’re playing at an extremely high level right now,” he said. “Most the year on the road guys would be chatting and horsing around on the bus, but not now. They are quiet and focused. Some of them bring their pillows or headphones and you look back there and can see them resting or focusing. We’re preparing all day instead of just preparing when we arrive at the venue.”
A win Tuesday would push the Jackets into the Region I-4A tournament Friday and Saturday at Kennedale. The Stephenville boys have never reached the regional tournament, coming a round shy on multiple occasions including last year when they were defeated by eventual state champ San Elizario.
“That would be great but we can talk about that Tuesday night or Wednesday,” Feist said. “All I’m praying for right now is that our guys will use their ability to play our very best team game. If we do that, everything else will work itself out.”