Fri., Feb. 2nd, 2007 Rebels, Dawgs enter District 3-5A soccer season with optimism
The records may not indicate marked improvement over last year, but there is a different feel and a ton of optimism among the Midland High and Lee boys soccer teams entering 3-5A play. No team's record has had a chance to sparkle with the low number of games most area teams played due to the weather conditions a few weeks ago. But do not be fooled, the Midland squads are ready for a challenging district schedule. Midland High (4-2-1) has been rebuilding once again with a new coach, and Warren Cottle said he has been nothing but excited at what he has seen so far. "Given the amount of games we've had, I feel pretty comfortable. We still have room to improve, but the way we have competed is exceptional," he said. "If we do the things we need to do, it can be exponential. I don't think we've peaked yet. I can't wait to see the end results, I'm very excited." Lee (3-2-1) might be in even better shape despite getting in fewer games. The Rebels have 12 players with at least one point and a super sophomore that has burned the competition at every opportunity. "Montie Urias," coach Chris Bryant said is the reason for Lee's offensive explosion. "The whole team is working together, but definitely Montie is a big factor." Urias has scored eight goals and four assists in six games. "He'll give you a lot of advantages, with his speed, with his skills, we have many different ways we can attack with him," Bryant said. "He does not stop. When (an opponent) scored on us, he got mad and went down and scored."
What will happen when district opponents start focusing on Urias? Bryant said he has a plan.
"We'll start finding other players to play off of. We've found other ways to attack," he said. "When that happens, watch out for Price Williams and Michael Robertson." Williams has record two goals, and Robertson added two goals and an assist this year. But in their six games, four Rebels other than their trio of stars have found the back of the net six times. The Bulldogs have not shown the offensive pop that Lee has but they have shown the grit that will be necessary to compete in a tight district. Midland High went 4-0-1 in their last five games after starting the season with two losses, and it won their final game of the YISD International Invitational in a shootout. "Just the discipline aspect," Cottle has said has been a drastic improvement. "Against (El Paso) Yselta, the other team received nine yellow cards and we received one. We are concentrating on winning, not the smack talk and that's something I've been real proud of." MHS won that game 3-2 last Friday in El Paso. The Bulldogs opens the season today when they play host to Odessa Permian, a playoff team from last season with 14 seniors and nine returning starters. Cottle called this district "a nightmare" to play in before the season. "A lot of it is focusing on competing. Permian is an exceptional team. They're one of the top in the district without a doubt," he said. "(You win the district) by taking care of your home games and picking up as many away games as you can." Lee opens up district at Odessa High tomorrow, another playoff team from a year ago. "I think (the kids) are very confident. Every day in practice they're prepared to play," Bryant said. "Odessa High is a very quick team, very physical. When we play them it's usually one of the best games we play all year."