|Wildcats wrap up district title with win over Paris|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
March 21, 2006 - PARIS - One goal down and one to go.
The Sulphur Springs Wildcats wrapped up the District 13-4A soccer championship with a 4-1 victory Monday over the Paris Wildcats during Senior Night at Noyes Stadium.
"It is pretty special to do it two years in a row, and it is special to do it one year and then to do it back-to-back is even more," said SSHS coach Andy Holt. "We are excited about that, but the main thing is that we are district champs."
This is the second straight season that the Wildcats went through district play undefeated in regulation play at 13-0-0-1 and finished the regular season at 22-3 overall.
"It feels good and especially to go undefeated in back-to-back seasons. That is a credit to the guys that are here and like I have said before these guys have been here for the past two to three years and we have seven seniors that have started," Holt said. "Those guys are special and it means a whole lot to those guys."
Sulphur Springs will have a warm-up game at 6 p.m. Thursday against Frisco at Frisco High School.
"I think Thursday will be a good test for us and I hope it is a playoff atmosphere and we are going to treat it that way," the coach said.
SSHS senior forward Chris Rodgers had his second straight hat trick in as many games after breaking the school's record Friday night against North Lamar and finished the regular season with 32 goals.
Holt said Rodgers has played with the heart of a champion this year and the move to forward paid dividends for the Wildcats.
"It seems like it is his desire and the desire to score goals and to win and to be the best that he can," the coach said. "You can tell in the way that he runs after balls. He is creating space for himself and for others and that is the biggest thing."
Rodgers scored his first goal of the game on a breakaway attempt with 24:16 remaining on the clock before Paris tied the game six minutes later.
Sam Temple went on a breakaway attempt of his own and shot the ball over a diving Jeremy Potter for the 1-1 tie with over 18 minutes remaining in the first half.
But Rodgers wasn't done as he blasted a shot to the left post past the Paris goalie for the 2-1 first half lead.
In the second half, Blake Holly nailed a shot between the legs of the Paris goalie, who was in position for the save but was too late, for the 3-1 lead with 34:06 remaining.
One of the craziest plays of the night for Sulphur Springs started when one of the Wildcats blasted a shot off the top of the post and as the ball was coming down, Rolando Larios chipped the ball up to Rodgers inside the box - who had the goalie on top of him - and as he recovered nailed the ball into the net for his third goal of the game with 10:59 remaining in the contest.
Mount Pleasant is the second-place team in the district and will open the playoffs against Wylie at 6 p.m. Friday in Lindale. Paris has clinched third and will face Highland Park at 7 p.m. Thursday in Greenville.
Holt said the Wildcats will face the winner of the Whitehouse and Nacogdoches contest as the two teams play Friday night in Whitehouse. The area round game will be played either Monday or Tuesday with a time, place and date to be determined.
"Our main focus right now is that playoff game and we want to make a deep run in the playoffs this year," Holt said. We want to be ready for that playoff atmosphere because I think that is what has hurt us in the past."