Wildcats blank L-E to set up district showdown with MP
By MARTIN BRYANT | News-Telegram Correspondent

March 5, 2004 -- In soccer, enthusiasm is trumped by experience almost every time. On Monday, the seasoned Sulphur Springs boys' soccer team manhandled an overmatched Liberty-Eylau team by a score of 10-0.

The blowout win improves the Wildcats district record to 9-1. They have now scored 30 district goals while allowing only four and have posted five shutouts.

"I am obviously pleased with our performance," head coach Andy Holt said. "This was an opportunity for us to score some goals and we did a good job working the ball around all night."

SSHS took advantage of the inexperienced Leopards early and often. Brody Dyer opened the scoring in the first half with a header after a Blake Birchfield corner kick. Shortly after that, Wilfredo Larios' cross fell to Birchfield near the Liberty-Eylau six-yard box and his goal made the score 2-0.

The Cats proceeded to put the game away while totaling seven goals in the first half. Timo Torrez, Layne Ashmore, Miguel Becerra, Eric Chenault and David Miranda added goals while Chris Rodgers and Clay McGraw recorded one assist each.

In the second half Torrez assisted on a goal by Larios before scoring one of his own, and Spenser Daniel scored the final goal unassisted for a 10-0 win. Goalkeeper Jeremy Potter had an easy night as the SSHS defense did not allow a shot on goal.

The victory gives the Cats 25 points in the district standings while setting the stage for rivalry showdown against district leading Mount Pleasant on Saturday. The Wildcats trail the Tigers by two points, which means they need a full three points, which they would gain with a regulation victory, to overtake the district leader.

If Saturday's game ends in a shootout, SSHS can only gain two points at most while Mt. Pleasant would be awarded one point for a shootout loss. In that case one point would be the difference between first and second place, and the Cats would be behind.

"Our game Saturday is for the district championship," Holt said. "We have to win in regulation to take the lead."

The rivalry between SSHS and Mount Pleasant has grown recently as both have battled for the district championship almost every year. Last season, the two split the district crown though Mount Pleasant obtained the top playoff spot by goal differential.

The Cats won their first district meeting 1-0 at home but now must travel to Mount Pleasant in search of a win and while the game is for a championship, the experience is needed for the upcoming playoffs.

"A tough game like this is good preparation for the postseason," Holt said. "This will definitely be a playoff type atmosphere."

Also, the JV Cats put their undefeated record on the line Saturday against the Tigers. The junior varsity kickoff is set for 1 p.m. while the varsity game will begin at 3 p.m.

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