Nathan Davis Lake Dallas girls soccer

Lake Dallas head girls soccer coach Nathan Davis led the Lady Falcons to their first playoff appearance since 2016.

The 29th ESPY awards, the annual ceremony devoted to honoring standout professional and collegiate athletes and teams of the past year, aired on July 10.

It’s the sports equivalent to the Oscars or Grammys, so Star Local Media has decided in recent years to put a high school spin on the concept.

This year has been a year that nobody will soon forget with the COVID-19 pandemic touching every facet of life, including high school sports, which saw the start of its athletic year delayed by one month.

Starting last week, Lake Dallas’ top athletes, teams and games will be recognized with nine different awards.

With that said, Star Local Media presents its ninth edition of the Varsitys, the second part of a three-part series.

Best performance

Buss pours in 30 points, Lady Falcons clinch district title

Lake Dallas point guard Mackenzie Buss shot just 8 percent from the field (1-of-12) the first time that the Lady Falcons played District 6-5A rival Grapevine during the 2020-21 season.

Buss made amends in a big way when the two teams met Jan. 29.

Scoring 30 points, Buss led Class 5A’s No. 15 Lake Dallas to a 59-46 victory over Grapevine. The win clinched the outright conference title for the Lady Falcons.

This performance comes more than one year after Buss was forced to miss all of her sophomore season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles.

Buss scored 11 straight points for the Lady Falcons in the second quarter, capped off with a jump shot that gave Lake Dallas a 23-16 lead with 5:06 remaining in the first half.

Best coach

Nathan Davis, girls soccer

When the UIL realignment for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 schools years was completed on Feb. 1, 2020, Lake Dallas, all of a sudden, was placed in District 6-5A – a conference includes the likes of state power Grapevine, in addition to Colleyville Heritage and Birdville.

The Lady Falcons (13-8-2) endured plenty of highs and lows along the way, but the team battled through the gauntlet that is District 6-5A to finish in fourth place in the conference standings and clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2016.

Lake Dallas head coach Nathan Davis guided the Lady Falcons to a district championship during the 2020 season, only to see the COVID-19 pandemic cut short the season before the postseason ever got underway.

With seven seniors and several talented underclassmen on the roster for the 2021 season, Davis knew that he had the firepower necessary to compete for a playoff berth. His belief in his team paid off on March 16 when the Lady Falcons blanked Richland, 2-0, to clinch a playoff berth.

In a bi-district playoff, Lake Dallas faced Wichita Falls Rider. The two teams played to a 3-3 tie on Jan. 5. Junior Olivia Trotter gave Lake Dallas a 1-0 lead just five minutes into the playoff, but the Lady Raiders answered with three straight goals to earn a 3-1 win.

Biggest upset

Baseball bounces back to defeat Azle

Less than 24 hours after Azle pitcher struck out 11 and yielded just four hits in the bi-district playoff opener, Lake Dallas needed a bounce-back type of performance.

Not only was the season on the line for the Falcons, but they had to win two straight games on the Hornets’ home field on May 8 in order for their season to continue.

Lake Dallas’ offense came together at the right time.

The Falcons out-hit the Hornets 16-11 – three hits apiece for Elijah Howard and Will McConnell – and Zach Darden threw five innings as Lake Dallas defeated Azle, 9-5, to keep its season alive. Darden worked around several scoring chances by the Hornets and limited Azle to just two runs over that span of play.

An RBI single by Ricardo Rodriguez in the top of the second inning plated Michael Duran to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead – a lead that Lake Dallas wouldn’t relinquish.

Lake Dallas’ season ended later that afternoon in a 6-3 loss in Game 3.

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