For the first time in two years, soccer teams stepped on to the pitch for official playoff matches this week.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last season’s playoffs was postponed, and later cancelled, denying teams the opportunity to pursue their dream of a state championship.
Every team was eager to return to the playoffs and renew that quest and a fortunate few local squads took the first step with bi-district victories.
The Rowlett girls staged one of the most dramatic performances of the opening round, rallying for a 4-2 victory on the road at Tyler Legacy.
Despite holding the advantage in scoring opportunities, the Eagles (14-9-1) found themselves in a 2-0 hole. The Raiders struck in the opening minute with a goal from Ella Rose Embry, and a short time later, Lexie Thedford converted a penalty kick to give Tyler Legacy a two-goal advantage.
But Rowlett kept the pressure on and it paid off in the second half.
Rhagan Marshall cut the deficit in half with a goal and then with less than two minutes left, Brooklyn Meisner netted the equalizer to tie it at 2-2 and send the match to overtime.
That momentum carried over into the extra time, as Trinity Egerton gave Rowlett a 3-2 lead in the first extra period, and Egerton provided an insurance goal in the second session to make it 4-2 and the Eagles defense made sure it would stay that way until the end.
Rowlett advances to the area finals where it will take on Mansfield Lake Ridge at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Homer B. Johnson Stadium.
The Eagles will be joined in the second round of the Class 6A girls bracket by Sachse and Horn.
The Mustangs (16-2-2) rolled to a 4-0 victory over Rockwall-Heath on Friday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.
Storm Harris scored twice, Paige Baumgartner had a goal and an assist and Isabella Savattere found the back of the net and the Sachse defense put the clamps on the Hawks.
The Jaguars (15-6-2) were the underdog on paper as the fourth seed, but they were able to find a way, pulling out a 1-0 shootout victory over 9-6A champion Wylie at Royse City’s Bulldog Stadium.
Both defenses rose to the challenge, as the teams went through 100 minutes of regulation and a pair of overtimes without a score, sending it to a shootout.
It was there that Horn shined, edging the Pirates, 4-3, to punch their ticket to the second round.
The Jaguars will take on Waxahachie at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Stadium.
Poteet saw its season come to an end with a 6-0 loss to Joshua on Friday.
The final score was a little misleading, as it was a 1-0 game with 30 minutes left before the Owls exploded down the stretch, as Victoria Neeley scored twice and Reagan Easter, Karen Miranda, Valerie Greer and Alexandra Garcia added goals.
The North Mesquite and Sachse boys are moving on to the area finals after each picked up victories on Friday.
The Stallions (12-4-9) are no stranger to close matches and they were involved in another one when they took on North Garland in a bi-district match at Homer B. Johnson Stadium.
It went down to the wire, but behind goals from Christian Valdez and Junior Garcia, North Mesquite was able to claim a 2-1 victory.
The Stallions move on to the second round to face Duncanville at 8 p.m. Tuesday back at HBJ.
The Mustangs (18-3-4) put together another strong all-around effort to earn a 2-0 win over Mesquite (7-12-4) at E.H. Hanby Stadium.
Kevin Sotelo tallied both goals for Sachse, with assists courtesy of Cooper Tea and Jonathan Majano.
The match was scoreless throughout the first half and much of the second, but the Mustangs were able to break through to take the lead with 15 minutes left and they netted an insurance score in the final minute.
The Skeeters, who rallied down the stretch just to make the playoffs as a four seed, had their share of chances, but the Sachse defense was able to rise to the occasion to preserve the lead.
Rowlett (13-5-6) and Rockwall-Heath engaged in another close match over at Homer B. Johnson Stadium, but it was the Hawks who were able to make history with their first playoff win in program history with a 1-0 victory.
Brock Bernard converted a penalty kick in the first half to stake Rockwall-Heath to the lead and the goalkeeper tandem of Eli Finley and Junior Tovar were able to keep the Eagles off the scoreboard to preserve the win.
The final 9-6A/10-6A match-up saw district champion Tyler Legacy get stretched into a shootout by Garland before finally prevailing in penalties.
The West Mesquite (11-10-3) squared off with Red Oak in one of the most high-scoring matches of Friday, but fell just short in a 4-3 loss at Goodloe Stadium.