Underdog Cats: SSHS faces No. 6-ranked McKinney Boyd in bi-district

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

March 18, 2008 - Life doesn't get any easier for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats, who must travel west to take on McKinney Boyd in the bi-district round of the soccer playoffs.

The teams will face off at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Boyd's field adjacent to the high school.

Not only do the Wildcats have to take on the Broncos on their home field, but they are also underdogs against the No. 6-ranked team in the metroplex, according to the Dallas Morning News. Boyd (17-4) had been ranked in the top three most of the season.

The Broncos finished third in the most competitive 4A district in the region. District 15-4A champion Mesquite Poteet is ranked No. 1, while runner-up McKinney High is ranked No. 2.

Boyd split games with Poteet and was swept in two games by McKinney.

"Finishing third in that district tells you how good of a team they are," said SSHS head coach Andy Holt. "They're a solid, well-rounded team."

Sulphur Springs (14-5-4), meanwhile, finished as runner-up in District 16-4A, with the only two district losses coming to Mount Pleasant.

Sulphur Springs and Boyd flipped a coin to determine home field advantage, and Boyd won, which means the game will be played on Field Turf. That also gives Boyd a slight advantage because the Broncos are more accustomed to the faster artificial turf than the Wildcats, who played only two district games on it - at Mount Pleasant and Pittsburg.

The Wildcats hope to use the speed of some of their faster players, i.e. Cruz Lozano and Tate Ramirez, to create some offensive opportunities. Ramirez leads the team in goals (13) and assists (6), while Lozano has 12 goals and three helpers. Oscar Marroquin and Omar Ortiz both have nine goals and Zach Junot has recorded four goals and five assists.

Defensively, the Wildcats have posted eight shutouts behind goalie Mario Arellano.

McKinney Boyd is led offensively by Travis Hybiak, who has a team-high 13 goals, and Daniel Lankford, a Delta State University signee. The Broncos have posted seven shutouts.

The winner of the bi-district match will face Dallas Hillcrest, the No. 3-ranked team in the metroplex, in the area round.

Directions to McKinney Boyd High School: From Greenville, take SH 380 to McKinney. Stay on 380 past the U.S. 75 intersection for a couple of miles. Take a left at Lake Forest Drive, and the school is less than a mile from the highway.

Notes: Paris, the third-place team in 16-4A, will take on 15-4A runner-up McKinney in Denison on Thursday. Mount Pleasant, the district champion, received a bye.

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