Lancaster's main focus is a return to the playoffs

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Mar. 16, 2007 - When the weather turns warm, Cole Lancaster's thoughts can turn to bass fishing. But right now, the Sulphur Springs senior is focused on soccer.

Lancaster and his teammates are two wins away from the playoffs as they host North Lamar tonight.

A win against the Panthers and on Monday against Liberty-Eylau will put the Wildcats in the postseason, and goals from Lancaster will help them achieve a victory. His two goals against Pittsburg on Wednesday gave him 15 for the season,

"Cole's a very versatile player," said SSHS head coach Andy Holt. "He's put the ball in the back of the net for us this year. We needed somebody to do that and Cole has stepped up and is doing that right now."

Lancaster admitted that "pretty much right now, all I'm doing is soccer," though video games and bass fishing are on his plate as well.

A three-year letterman, he moved from the wing to a forward this year, where he is counted on to score and provide assists.

"What I like best about soccer is there are no pads," he said. "It's 20 guys going at it for 90 minutes and just one second can change the outcome of the game."

He knows that firsthand. It was Lancaster's goal in sudden death against Whitehouse in the first round of last year's playoff that sent Sulphur Springs on its first step of an historic trip that ended in the regional finals.

"Cole does a lot for us," Holt said. "Last year, he played on the wing for us. He did a lot of great things out there for us, some unselfish things like crossing and passing. He understood his role and he was a big part of our season last year.

"This year, we moved him to the middle and up top. He understands his role is different, and he has done a good job in his role this year."

Lancaster said he is just trying to help the team win games.

"I think what I do best for the team is that I'm just a piece of the puzzle that fits," he explained. "Our defense has really stepped it up this year, and me and Oscar (Marroquin) up top are just trying to put goals in the back of the net."

As a team, the Wildcats wanted to beat Mount Pleasant (two ties both ended in shootout losses), make the playoffs (a destiny which they control) and win a playoff game.

"Those were our goals last year," Lancaster said, "and things just took care of themselves after that."

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