Written by Corbett Smith
After wakeup call, Coppell's boys soccer team rolls
Keller misses two solid chances before hosts get their offense in gear
COPPELL — Forty minutes before kickoff of a pivotal District 7-5A game against Keller, Coppell boys soccer coach Shane Bybee walked into a darkened turf room to find his team fast asleep.
It looked like Coppell was still groggy when the game started.
Dominated by Keller — which narrowly missed scoring twice in the first 22 minutes, with two shots off the woodwork — Coppell was lucky not to be down big early.
“The first 10 minutes was a nightmare,” Bybee said.
But a beautiful 25-yard bending goal by senior left back Mark Tatum shook Coppell out of its slumber, sparking his team to a 3-1 victory at Buddy Echols Stadium.
The win put Coppell (18-4-1, 10-3) two points ahead of Keller (15-5-1; 9-3-1) for second place in district play with one game remaining.
Keller — ranked No. 4 in SportsDay’s area soccer rankings — owned the first 20 minutes, holding a 3-to-1 possession margin and staying in the attacking half of the field for the better part of that time.
Less than two minutes into the game, Keller’s Kyle Pujats hit the underside of the crossbar. It happened again almost 20 minutes later. A header by Jared Poling off a Patrick Kellerman free kick bounced squarely off the center of the goal frame.
Against the run of play, No. 3 Coppell scored its first goal — with 16:55 remaining in the half — on Tatum’s looping shot. It was Coppell’s first shot on goal and the second goal of Tatum’s varsity career.
“I’ve not had a goal like that, ever,” Tatum said.
Coppell added to its lead just before half. Jarett Weaver hit Keller on the counter-attack down the left flank, beating the keeper across his body into the right corner.
“These are two evenly matched teams,” Keller coach Jason Bates said. “I felt like it could have gone either way.”