Hallsville’s Big Season Ends in Celebration
CARROLLTON -- Many of Hallsville's faithful blew off Friday for a trip to the Metroplex and the Bobcats' meeting with The Dallas Morning News' No. 1 area soccer team.
It wasn't the game Hallsville wanted to see, a 7-2 loss to Frisco Liberty in the 4A Region II semifinals, but watching the hometown boys play at Standridge Stadium was just an extra treat upon a very impressive season.
"You look to try to break in and here we are," head coach Tom Wait said. "But at this level right here, it may take just a little more. We learned that today and hopefully we'll build more upon it. I'm very proud of these guys. They gave everything they had to play and they enjoyed playing. They're a good group of kids. I'm going to miss those seniors."
The fans were going crazy for their team behind Wait.
Cowbells, the cheerleaders out in full force and a quality student section made Hallsville's presence known even after the decisive loss.
It was quick and relatively painless. Liberty (24-1) took a 3-1 lead to the locker room and led 6-2 with more than 18 minutes to play.
The Bobcats (22-5-2) matched Liberty's mass substitutions of second-team players and had time to realize they were playing their final game of the season, so the postgame roaming around the field served more as a celebration of the season than a bitter pill to swallow.
Hallsville finished third in District 32-4A and had never won a playoff game before this season. It got that first win, then a second win, ultimately topped its own district champion in the third round and then breezed into the regional tournament with a 4-1 win against Red Oak on Monday.
"It was our best season ever," Wait said. "First playoff win. This is the fifth time the program has been in the playoffs. This year was the first time for us to win a playoff game. That's a credit to these guys. They got sick and tired of being the punching bag, so now they said, 'We're going to go out swinging. We're going to go out hard. We're going to do all we can. We don't want to be the doormat.' We jumped leaps and bounds. I'm so proud of that."
The Bobcats had a nine seniors.
Wait says all made impacts in their own ways.
Hallsville's two goals came from sophomores.
"That just says the future is bright," the head coach said. "We're going to try to celebrate a little bit with what we did this year and then try to build upon that in the future. I don't think that the score was an indication of our abilities, but it's definitely an indication of the other team's abilities."
Liberty advanced to play Frisco Wakeland in the Region II championship game Saturday at 11 a.m.
Wakeland topped fellow 32-4A member Pine Tree a few hours later. Both of Friday's boys games at Carrollton pitted 32-4A against District 18-4A.
"That district has grown and we're adding Longview into it," Wait said. "We've added Sulphur Springs, we're adding Mount Pleasant into that new district. It just got even tougher. This might help us prepare for it. But that district that we were in, the rivalries, I think three of some of the best teams in East Texas were from our district."