It may not have quite reached the level of a sports miracle, but Stephenville’s boys soccer team did pull off a remarkable feat — with a little help from their “friends” in Mineral Wells.
In order for the Yellow Jackets to win the No. 1 playoff seed out of District 4-4A, they needed to defeat Brownwood Friday night. They did — in convincing fashion — 5-1. They also needed help from Mineral Wells, which played first-place Abilene Wylie Friday.
Mineral Wells pulled off a minor upset of Wylie, 2-1, putting the Jackets in a three-way tie for first in the four-team district, all with 6-3 records.
First-year SHS boys coach Taylor Smith said the head-to-head records couldn’t determine the No. 1 seed, and the three schools were also tied in goal differential. The Jackets squeaked it out based on goals scored — barely. They scored 17 goals, while Wylie and Mineral Wells had scored 16 each.
The district crown means that both the SHS boys and girls are entering the playoffs as No. 1 seeds. The Honeybees, the defending state champions, earned their first-ever outright district title last week. They will also play Burkburnett in bi-district in Graham, but that game will be at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
Stephenville will take on Burkburnett (7-13-4), the fourth-place team out of District 3-4A, in the bi-district round of the playoffs, Friday at 4 p.m. at Graham High School.
In the Brownwood game, the Jackets led 2-0 at halftime before adding three goals in the second half.
Kevin Martinez led the way offensively for SHS with a pair of goals. Teammates J.J. Saldana, Hunter Melton and Eliut Reyes scored one each.
It was an exciting finish to the regular-season for the Jackets (17-7 overall), who came on strong after losing three of their first four district games to win the last five in a row.
“It’s awesome. It’s a great feeling,” Smith said. “We definitely set ourselves apart.”
The midseason slump coincided with several key injuries — including the season-ending eye injury suffered by a top performer, Jorge Gallegos. But now the Jackets are flying high once again, with Logan Kirk back from a knee sprain and Angel Luna available again after recovering from a dislocated elbow.
“In the middle of the season we had a little slip, and we had some injuries,” Smith said. “But when it came time to buckle down, we definitely turned it around. We took care of what we needed to take care of.”
In winning their last four games during their recent surge, they have outscored those opponents by a 14-2 margin, Smith noted.
“I think we’re playing great, and we’re not over-confident,” he said. “Right now we’re at the highest level we have been all year. We’re hitting our stride.”
The winner of Friday’s first-round playoff game between SHS and Burkburnett will face either El Paso Mountain View or Lubbock Estacado in the area playoff round.