It was year of polarized results for the Lake Dallas athletics program.
In nearly every “pair” of standings-based sports (football and volleyball, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys soccer, and baseball and softball), one program had a successful season, while the other fell short. In fact, only football and volleyball, both of which made the Class 5A postseason, managed to get both halves into the tournament.
Both teams were bounced in the bi-district round, providing a rather unceremonious end to the school’s slate of fall-opening sports. Still, the duo’s success in reaching the playoffs at all was more than many programs could say this school year.
On the pitch, the boys soccer team continued to build on its historic recent success, surpassing a second-round appearance a season ago with a trip to the regional finals this winter. However, the Falcons’ counterpart in the girls soccer team wasn’t as fortunate, suffering a handful of injuries and falling short of the tournament for the third consecutive season.
It was a similar story on the basketball court, where an abysmal year from the Falcons that saw them go nearly winless in District 8-5A was answered by a second straight postseason appearance on the girls side, as the Lady Falcons leveraged a young and talented roster to advance through a competitive 8-5A.
Finally, the divide may have been the largest on the diamond in terms of overall results. A winless district season from the softball team, which hasn’t reached the postseason since 2016, stands in stark contrast to an improbable regional-semifinal appearance from the baseball team, which finished third in 8-5A on the back of a win in a seeding game to enter the tournament for the second straight spring.
Still, though, even more than the divide between members of the different pairings in standings-based action, the Lake Dallas athletics year was defined by the aforementioned lengthy postseason runs from the Falcons in soccer and baseball.
Both were magical in their own right, though for different reasons. Expectations were high for the boys soccer team entering the campaign, though not many expected an unbeaten run to an 8-5A title.
Still, it wasn’t necessarily the fact that the Falcons made the regional tournament that shocked onlookers, but how they accomplished that feat. In the bi-district round, goals in the final 15 seconds of both regulation and overtime propelled the Falcons forward, and it was more of the same throughout the tournament. Late goals, come-from-behind wins – it was all par for the course for a team that seemed destined at one point to contend for a state title before bowing out at the hands of eventual state champion El Paso Bel Air.
The baseball team’s run, however, was magical for the mere fact that it happened at all. The program created doubt about whether it would even make the postseason, falling into a lengthy slump in the middle of conference play that nearly derailed the veteran club.
Instead, the Lake Dallas offense and the Falcons’ trio of arms in Ryan Depperschmidt, Cade McCollum and Ben Price got hot all at once, as timely hitting and competitive outing after competitive outing piloted the Falcons all the way to their regional semifinal date with Lubbock Monterey.
It was simply one of those perfect-storm runs that comes along now and again, though it seems to happen for the Falcons on the diamond, who made an appearance in the regional finals in 2016, more often than not.
There are other contenders for the theme of 2018-19 for Lake Dallas – many programs are flush with young talent poised to carry the torch forward, offering up another near-program-wide identity – but the dust will settle and leave the dueling regional runs as the definitive standout moments of the year for the Falcons and Lady Falcons.
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