Friars unable to knock Central from TAPPS soccer perch

Friars unable to knock Central from TAPPS soccer perch

In a season where the Friars could seemingly do no wrong, they were once again upended by a juggernaut at the TAPPS Division I State Soccer tournament. 

The Friars (16-4-1) met two-time defending state champion Central Catholic on Friday in Waco, looking to stop the Buttons' run at the top of Division I men's soccer. But, for a second straight year, they would be unable to complete the feat, this time falling 4-0 in the state final.

Central controlled a majority of the first-half action and after the Friars turned away several opportunities, the Buttons eventually broke through midway through the first half on a corner kick.

The Friars would play better over the last 10+ minutes of the half but were unable to produce any goals. Central took a 1-0 lead into intermission at Waco ISD Stadium.

In the second half, yellow cards began to stack up for the Friars, with Cooper Stephens, Blake Casner, assistant coach Chris Vivero, and Nico Bernal all shown cards in the final 35 minutes. Jack Adams had received a card in the first half.

Central doubled its lead to 2-0 with 19 minutes to play, a shot that went just off the fingertips of Bernal. The buttons converted a penalty kick with 11 minutes to play and made it 3-0, then closed out the scoring with a goal as just eight minutes remained on the clock.

Despite the final result, it was a sweet season indeed for the Friars, who won a second straight district title, went 9-0-1 at home and 5-0 as a true road team. On neutral turf, the team was just 2-4.

Seniors Bernal, Adams, Adam Gaytan, Ryan Saldana, and Johnny Bruce wrapped up very successful high school careers. Adams scored a team-high 21 goals in his senior campaign, Bruce had 16 goals and seven assists, and Bernal posted a 15-3-1 record, allowing just 12 goals in 20 contests.