CORINTH – For the first time in program history, the Lake Dallas boys soccer team will play in the second round of the UIL postseason.
The Falcons earned a 3-1 bi-district victory over Frisco Lone Star at Falcon Stadium Thursday, getting a pair of goals from senior Blake Henson to earn their first playoff win.
“I can’t describe it. I’m sure I’ll wake up tomorrow and it’ll kind of hit me, but I’m just kind of living in a fog right now,” said Brandon Martin, Lake Dallas head coach. “Obviously, the guys are excited we’re moving on to the second round. It’s something we haven’t done as a program, so we’re all excited about that.”
For much of the first half, Lake Dallas had the better looks, and as the clock ticked toward the halfway point of the frame, those chances began to gather steam. A cross just out of the reach of senior Adam Rowell would likely have found the back of the Lone Star net, but the missed opportunity would prove to be a harbinger of things to come.
Moments later, Henson scored the biggest goal in Falcon history to that point. He beat Ranger senior Kyle Kelson to put Lake Dallas on top, 1-0, in the 20th minute before wildly sprinting toward the home side of Falcon Stadium in the moments after the ball found twine.
“He’s been playing pretty good all season. He’s our leading goal-scorer, and he broke the school record for goals this year, and I think overall,” Martin said. “He’s a good kid, he works hard, and it shows on the field.”
As time wound down in the half, Lone Star mounted a counterattack. The pressure culminated in the last 10 minutes of the period, with the Rangers getting several good looks at an equalizer that didn’t materialize.
The Rangers picked up where they left off as the second half opened, spending the majority of the first 10 minutes in the Lake Dallas end. The first Lake Dallas action of the period came nearly 14 minutes into it, when a corner was harmlessly cleared away in front by the Rangers.
From the top of the box, Lone Star senior Miguel Maynez sent one hard on net, forcing Falcon sophomore keeper Kaleb Irving to make his best stop of the game. It appeared Lone Star had the momentum in the match.
Then, Lake Dallas struck again.
With Henson coming in after a ball and ending up one-on-one with Kelson, the keeper couldn’t corral the loose ball. It fell to Henson, who collected it behind the netminder and sent it into the yawning net to extend the lead to 2-0 in favor of the Falcons.
“Credit to Lake Dallas. They fought, they scrapped and they did whatever they could to make sure we didn’t score,” said Clinton Hollingworth, Lone Star head coach. “Unfortunately, a bad mistake at the back took the wind out of the sails for us a bit. … But as far as the way we played and the character we showed on the field, that’s definitely a positive we’ll take away from the game.”
Less than five minutes later, senior Carlos Zamora would tack on another for Lake Dallas with just under 22 minutes remaining, growing the lead to 3-0 and putting the Rangers in a hole they couldn’t dig out of.
Maynez nearly willed his club to a comeback, notching a goal almost immediately after Zamora’s that kicked off a chaotic sequence of pressure for the Rangers. Within the span of just a few minutes, senior Sevon Pendergrass sent a ball just over the bar, Irving made spectacular diving saves on back-to-back Lone Star rushes and another golden chance was headed just high.
“[All of Lone Star’s seniors] tried to will it and tried to get it [even]. I think it’s just one of those days,” Hollingworth said. “You can play as hard as you want, but sometimes it’s just not your day. ... These seniors have left something for the rest of these kids to look forward to and to go and fight for.”
While Lone Star failed to advance, Hollingworth believes his program took yet another step forward.
“If you look at our program four or five years ago, we were looking at every game in our district as, ‘How much are we going to lose by?’” he said. “The last two years, we’ve made it into the playoffs, so it’s just that next hump we have to get over now. … It’s an age-old thing – once you get into the playoffs, it’s an equal playing ground, and you’ve just got to have that right mentality to get past the first game.”
From here, Lake Dallas will move on to face Lovejoy in the second round, as the Leopards defeated Sulphur Springs in their own bi-district game.
“I haven’t seen them play. I do know the coach, so I know they’re going to be pretty organized,” Martin said. “We’ll just have to take it to them and see what happens.”
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