Mid-season motivation comes out in playoff win

Cowboys advance to area round against Highlanders


Karis Thomas

Coppell Cowboys senior midfielder Wyatt Priest jumps with joy after assisting a goal during the second half of the game on March 30 at John Clark Stadium in Plano. The Coppell Cowboys defeated the Garland Owls, 4-0, in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Region I playoffs.

Nicholas Pranske, Sports Assignment Editor

PLANO – After 33 scoreless minutes, Coppell senior Wyatt Priest broke the ice with a chip-in goal for the Cowboys.


With this goal, and the three following, the Coppell soccer team defeated Garland, 4-0, on Thursday at John Clark Stadium in the Class 6A Region I bi-district playoffs. The Cowboys (18-3-2) advance to face The Woodlands on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at Belton High School Athletic Facilities.


The motivation for this win over the Owls (11-9-2), however, is rooted much deeper than simply winning a soccer match.


“Right after the Pearce game that we lost about halfway through the season, we talked a lot,” Coppell coach James Balcom said. “They ended up beating us out for district, so that made us even more motivated to win tonight and hopefully keep winning.”


After Priest’s initial goal in the 33rd minute, the Cowboys did not score again until the second half. However, that did not slow down their offensive pace. In the 65th minute, senior forward Marshall Board sent one to the back of the net on a left-footed cross from Priest. Board’s explosive goal was soon followed by an unlikely goal by senior forward Cesar Alves.


For Alves, standing at five feet tall, all it took was a well-timed jump and a perfectly placed header. A lob-pass from a midfielder sent the ball into the air – perfect for Alves. He then jumped up, barely tipping the ball with the top of his head; just enough to send it up over the goalkeeper and into the net.


Alves, a powerful attacker on the field but not known for his vertical positioning, immediately ran to his teammates who were waiting to celebrate.


“Working with these guys is a four-year process,” Alves said. “It doesn’t change from freshman year and it just gets better every year. You don’t even have to worry that they’re doing their job because you’re doing yours and it all fits together perfectly.”


After the excitement of Alves’ goal in the 78’ minute, the Cowboys were ready to coast through the final minutes and on to the second round. However, senior midfielder Amit Verma had a different idea. With just five seconds left, Verma put in the fourth and final goal for the Cowboys on a well-placed strike.


The glory of the win does not go solely to the scorers, however. On the other side of the ball, the Coppell defense did not allow a goal, despite a scare for the Cowboys in the 35th minute. On a strong attack by the Owls, followed by a long shot, Coppell was saved on a big play by junior goalkeeper Austin Simigian.


“Everybody has a role on this team, and understand that,” Balcom said. “With 29 kids on the roster, not everyone is going to make the field every game, but every player is instrumental in the success of the team.”