Back to the draw-ing board: Allen, Boyd tie prior to Spring Break
ALLEN -- The Allen and McKinney Boyd boys soccer teams came into Friday's match with opposing goals.
The Eagles (4-1-3) were attempting to keep their District 10-5A title hopes alive while the Broncos (7-0-1) were hoping to lock up the outright championship.
The 1-1 draw provided positive and negative takeaways for both.
Allen could still theoretically be co-district champions, but Friday's 1-1 decision largely ended those hopes while also guaranteeing the Eagles no worse than a No. 3 seed in the playoffs. Boyd didn't clinch an outright 10-5A crown, but will enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed following McKinney's 2-2 draw with Plano West and need only a single point in its final two matches to be outright champions.
"We could've clinched tonight," said Casey Osborn, Boyd head coach, prior to learning of McKinney's draw. "But we still got a point, so we'll live to fight another day."
"Of course we wanted to beat Boyd and get the two points," added Bryan Hantak, Allen head coach, "but we're happy with getting a point."
It was a tale of two halves with Boyd controlling the first.
"We didn't show up in the first half," Hantak said. "We looked scared."
Boyd took advantage in the 27th minute when Allen senior Evan Wyatt drew a yellow card. Broncos senior Sewell Yost fired up the ensuing free kick. The initial stop was made by Eagles junior goalkeeper CJ Hendricks, but the rebound was knocked in by senior Alex Lopez, who did a back flip after giving the Broncos a 1-0 lead with 13:48 remaining in the half.
"We had let like four set pieces go before that, so it was a little frustrating," Osborn said. "But we took advantage there and Sewell had a really good ball."
It remained 1-0 at the break, but the momentum turned in the second half.
"Allen came out more intense than us in the second; really pressured us," Osborn said. "I was a little surprised because we have responded so well in the second half of games during district, but give credit to Allen for taking it to us. That shows yet again that the games in this district come down to who can execute best."
No one executed better in the second half than Wyatt and Allen senior Kevin Ptacek.
That duo accounted for the equalizer with 25:04 remaining in the game when the former sent a free kick in from 50 yards to the latter, who knocked it in from the top of the 6-yard box.
"This is like the third or fourth time in a row Kevin has been huge for us," Hantak said. "He can just put us on his back at times."
That combination almost connected again in the 63rd minute, but Ptacek's header was stopped via a diving save from Boyd sophomore keeper Evan Davies. Davies stopped another Allen attempt, this time a 45-yard free kick by Wyatt, in the 71st minute.
"Evan is one of the kids that came back from the Academy system because he wanted to finish with his friends," Hantak said. "He is an incredible player and he was all over the field tonight."
Stopping Wyatt was important, but the game's biggest save came at the other end.
Boyd was awarded a penalty kick in the 76th minute following an Allen hand ball in the box. Yost lined up for the kick.
"My first thought was of course to stop the shot," Hendricks said. "Then I started thinking how big it would be for the team if I could do this."
Hendricks dove to his right and deflected the ball wide.
"I learned this little trick from club," Hendricks said. "Whenever you have one of those stud players line up a certain direction, odds are they are going to try to bend it and go cross body, so I was ready for that."
That stop, as well as a defensive breakup by Ptacek in the final 30 seconds, kept the match level at 1-1.
Both teams are off from varsity play for Spring Break with Boyd returning to the pitch at 7:30 p.m. March 19 to face Plano East and Allen hosting McKinney at the same time from Ford Middle School in a match that will likely decide second place in district.
"This is a good time for a break," Hantak said. "We still have three of our starters out and I think the rest of the boys could use a bit of a break before playoffs."