Soccer Cats host Paris in important opener

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

Jan. 29, 2008 - By the luck of the draw, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats face off against the other top three soccer teams in District 16-4A in their first three matches.

First up tonight is Paris.

The Wildcats (2-3-4) host Paris (4-3) at Gerald Prim Stadium in the district opener, with the JV to start at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity to get underway about 7:15.

Last year, the Wildcats lost to Paris and Pleasant Grove in their first two matches before tying Mount Pleasant in the third game. SSHS beat Paris in last year's re-match and finished third in district.

"We talked about the importance of tonight's game," said SSHS head coach Andy Holt, whose team has made the playoffs all five years he has been coach. "Last year, we got off on the wrong foot and dug ourselves a hole. We don't want to do that again, so tonight is very critical. We need to make sure we play well against Paris."

He is elevating freshman Fernando Arellano, whose two older brothers also start on varsity, for tonight's game because the Wildcats have two starters who will be out.

"I think the boys are going to be ready," Holt said. "We're going to have to have some kids step up."

Holt hopes that a tough non-district schedule that included matches against eight teams that made the playoffs last season, prepared the Wildcats for the district schedule.

"Really, we have the toughest three teams to start our schedule," Holt said. "We were the four teams battling for the three spots last year.

"We've got to get off to a good start. They've got a lot of talented players and have several returners."

In other district games, North Lamar hosts Liberty-Eylau, Texas High plays at Pleasant Grove, and Pittsburg plays at Mount Pleasant.

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