Pirates getting defensive


A football coach once told me if a team can’t score on you they can’t beat you.

When I reminded him that they could still play to a scoreless tie, and that a tie is like kissing your sister, he fired back, “My sister looks a lot better than my grandma.”

Many years later I’m still trying to figure out what he meant by equating a loss to his grandma, and why giving sweet ol’ Granny a peck on the cheek is so bad.

But I do understand the concept that a good defense goes further to winning than any amount of scoring. For example, it wasn’t until they learned to play defense that the Dallas Mavericks FINALLY won an NBA championship. When the Texas Rangers FINALLY got good pitching, they reached back-to-back World Series.

Look over the history of high school football in Texas, and just about every single champion had a defense that the school brags about today.

Doug Kissinger, Granbury boys soccer coach, understands the importance of a great defense. He played on a great defensive team – one that won state, in fact, in 1999 – still the only Granbury team to win a state title.

And now he’s coaching a great defensive team. Entering last night’s Class 4A Region I sectional playoff against Mansfield Lake Ridge, the Pirates had posted 13 shutouts, two shy of the team record set in 1999.

“Granbury has always stressed defense,” said Kissinger. “When we won state, we gave up a half a goal a game.”

Don’t go drawing any comparisons just yet. This team has the potential to achieve greatness, but that team was the kind Kissinger will tell his grandkids about.


The Pirates do have one heck of a team this year, regardless of last night’s outcome. In fact, if they won last night, it will be the furthest a Pirate team has advanced since the 2003 season. And if not, it’s still the second time in three seasons they reached the third round under Kissinger.

Admittedly, my knowledge of soccer is limited. I can’t tell the difference between a shot and a shot on goal (as I’ve often said, if it’s not the goal, then what are they shooting at?).

But I know good when I see it, and Kissinger is a good coach with a good team.

Watching them against Diamond Hill-Jarvis in the area round was quite the display of defensive dominance. They held Jarvis – a good team – without a shot for the final 75 minutes.

Jim Carrey has a better chance of being a guest on Fox News than the Eagles had of scoring a goal.

“You’ve seen it in all sports. You don’t win a championship without a strong defense,” said Kissinger. “You start with the defense first and build around that.

“This is not anything new, but it is something essential.”

Arlington Seguin tested the Pirate defense in a 3-2 Granbury bidistrict win. Remember, though, that was one very pressure-packed scenario for the team.

As was well-documented, Granbury had lost in bidistrict three of the previous four years. All eyes were on them to see if they would break through, with some of the players even admitting they felt pressure.

They did get the win. And having done so, they are now the team that has advanced deep two out of three years. Funny how things can change in a hurry in the world of sports.

There are no stars on Kissinger’s team, including the defense. Heck, he even uses two goalkeepers, Julio Moreno and Patrick Kirby.

“Unity and the ability to play together are the strengths of this defense, and this team as a whole,” he said. “The captains (Matt Rose, Shaun Gomez and Erick Garcia) are vocal, and the others listen.”

And there’s always a lesson to be learned from listening – even if it takes the rest of your life to figure out what the heck they were saying.

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