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BOYS HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER: Odessa High wants to take next step - Odessa American: Sports

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BOYS HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER: Odessa High wants to take next step

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Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 5:08 pm

As the Odessa High boys soccer team navigated its way through the regular season, the Bronchos were checking off items on a list of things they wanted to accomplish:

>> Getting into the playoffs for the fourth straight season — check.

>> Winning the District 2-6A title for the first time in 14 years — check.

>> Finishing unbeaten in district play — check.

With those goals accounted for, the next item on the checklist is the one that looms the largest — winning a playoff game.

The Bronchos will have a chance to check that box at 4 p.m. today against El Paso Americas in a Class 6A bi-district round contest at Sul Ross State University in Alpine.

“I think our team is in a good place mentally,” head coach Eliseo Ortiz said. “Winning the district title and going undefeated definitely gave our guys a lot of confidence.

“We have the matchup that we want as the top seed and you can’t ask for more than that.”

The hope now is that regular-season accolades translate into postseason success.

For this group of Bronchos, they are laser focused on making history and getting over the proverbial hump.

“We’re definitely hungry for a playoff win,” junior forward Cain Cordova said. “We haven’t been able to do that the last few years but we want to create a good mindset not just for this year but for the years after that.”

The last triumph that Odessa High had in the playoffs was back in 2008 when all of the current players were still in elementary school.

Fast forward more than a decade  and there is plenty of motivation to make sure that this playoff game won’t be the last time that the Bronchos take the field together.

 “We all have the same goal in mind,” senior forward Nana Prempeh said. “With it being my last year, I don’t want Thursday to be my last game. I want to keep moving forward.”

Odessa High will face off against an Trailblazers squad they have not faced this season. Still, the Bronchos are fully aware of what to expect.

“It’s a typical El Paso team,” Ortiz said. “They never give up and it’s a hard -fought battle to the end.”

“The teams from El Paso always play really tough,” Cordova said. “They’re hungry and we have to have that same intensity as well. It should be a good match.”

The Bronchos are also motivated to put on a better showing after falling 2-0 to El Paso Socorro in the playoffs a year ago.

Cordova, along with several teammates, remember that game well and he’s ready to erase that and have this year’s team write its own chapter.

“It will be a big accomplishment me for guys like me and (Jesus) Montes who’ve been on varsity since freshman year,” he said. “We’re really motivated to go out and win a playoff game.”

Ortiz understands the mindset of his players since he’s been through the same process during his playing days as a Broncho.

Now as a coach, he’s still focused on marking off that next big item on the checklist and he believes he has the team to accomplish that.

“Our main goal has been to try and get over that hump and win a playoff game,” he said. “Winning games and winning the district title are great accomplishments. However, winning a playoff game is what we really want to do.”

Odessa, TX

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