FORT WORTH – One doesn’t have to go far down the list of special soccer teams at Granbury to find the current group of Pirates.
Only one other team has more shutouts and more victories in a single season than the current version.
And that team is the most special in the history of the school in any sport, the 1999 Class 4A state champions (21-1, 15 shutouts).
The current Pirates (20-3-5) were playing Wichita Falls Rider (21-5-2) last night in Mineral Wells with a chance to tie those milestones – and more important, advance to this weekend’s Class 4A Region I Tournament in Wichita Falls.
“This is really special being my senior year,” said Erick Garcia. “It’s just great to be a part of this.”
The 2-0 sectionals victory Friday against Mansfield Lake Ridge was the 14th shutout of the season for the Pirates. It also ran their streak of shutout minutes in the postseason to 184.
“They’ve earned the status of being called a special team,” said coach Doug Kissinger. “If you’re looking at the beginning of the season to now, we’ve grown skill-wise.
“I can’t say I didn’t think we’d be here. I knew these guys would grow.”
Others have also taken notice of the growth, Kissinger said.
“It’s not a secret any more how good we are, especially on defense,” he said.
Entering last night’s game, the Pirates were 16-0-3 over their past 19 outings. They’ve won 10 straight since battling Stephenville to a 1-1 tie in their first district meeting.
The Pirates defeated the Yellowjackets 2-1 in the rematch.
Stephenville was also still in the playoffs as of last night. They were playing Birdville last night in Aledo, with the winner also advancing to Wichita Falls this weekend.
Lake Ridge (10-8-5) battled the Pirates to a scoreless first half. In fact, Granbury didn’t get off a shot until the game was 13 minutes old. The Eagles didn’t muster a shot until the 18th minute.
With 27 minutes remaining in the game, Marco Ramirez scored his third goal of the postseason.
Then, after the Eagles had a player ejected with a red card and were playing a man down, Granbury’s Jacob Dyson added a security goal with 9:13 remaining.
“Once he got the red card, we knew if we kept possession, we’d get a second goal,” said Dyson.
“I was at a more comfortable state, let’s say,” said Kissinger of the second goal, smiling. “Everybody on the sideline was biting their nails.
“You could see them (Lake Ridge) deflate.”
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Class 4A Boys Sectional Soccer Playoff
Mans. Lake Ridge 0 0 – 0
Granbury 0 2 – 2
Granbury goals (assists) – Marco Ramirez (Freddy Espinoza), Jacob Dyson (Erick Garcia).
Records – Granbury 20-3-5, Lake Ridge 10-8-5.