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Soccer: Playoff picture – Decatur earns rematch with Mineral Wells

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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Making a Run

MAKING A RUN – Decatur’s Gumaro Inguanzo tracks down a ball in a match against Bridgeport. The Eagles open the playoffs Thursday against Mineral Wells. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Decatur will look to build on last season’s historic playoff run when they take on Mineral Wells in the 4A Region I bi-district round of the playoffs at 7 p.m. Thursday in Wichita Falls.

The Eagles beat the Rams 4-0 last year to earn their first postseason victory in school history. Decatur went on to beat Pampa 5-0 in the area round before falling to San Elizario in the regional quarterfinal.

The Eagles finished the regular season as the District 3-4A runner-up with a 14-10-2 overall record and 7-2 mark in league play.

“[Making another run in the playoffs] would mean a lot to the program and to these kids to prove they are a legitimate soccer program,” said Decatur coach Christopher Benjamin. “We just [need] to continue to build off the foundation that was set last year.

Mineral Wells finished third in District 4-4A. The Rams went 9-14-1 on the year and 6-3 in league play.

“I’m expecting them to come out and compete,” Benjamin said. “They’ve done really well in district play. Our game plan is to control tempo, have good ball movement and finish on our opportunities.”

Benjamin said he will need for the seniors on Decatur’s squad to step up and control the pace of the game, especially in the midfield. Seniors Daniel Inguanzo and Sebastian Serrano played a large role in the Eagles’ success in district and also helped Decatur upset Bridgeport a few weeks ago.

“I’m looking for them to take [the] lead and control the game,” Benjamin said. “Have good distribution from back to front and control momentum.”

Decatur lost its regular season finale last Tuesday to Bridgeport 5-1. The Eagles could have claimed their first district title in school history with a win. Decatur’s only two losses in league play came against the Bulls.

The Eagles were without several players in that match due to ineligibility and injury. Inguanzo and Juan Patino were both sidelined after getting cards, while Jorge Aguilar missed the game with a shoulder injury.

Benjamin expects all three to play in Thursday’s playoff game.

“We’re back full scale,” Benjamin said. “Everybody is back, and we’re ready to go.”

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