2018 Boys High School Playoff Preview
By: TJ GARCIA
(MERCEDES) — The Mercedes Tigers boys’ soccer team is on quest this year: the playoffs.
The Tigers, who made the high school soccer post-season six straight years from 2009 to 2014, has hit a drought for the last three years.
And that’s an anomaly for the proud Tigers’ program that also went as far as the Area round in each of those aforementioned six years. Their best year was in 2014 when Mercedes made it to the third round before bowing out to PSJA Southwest.
This year, however, the Tigers look like to be back to form. The senior-laden side is off to a roaring 6-2-2 start after beating up on schools like PSJA, Eagle Pass and Alice among others and have recorded four shutouts along the way.
Head Coach Jose Almazan said he’s been pleased with his team’s performance so far.
“Overall our team has been doing good,” he said. “Our expectations are always high and this year, our players have been working hard while giving their best on the field.”
Being in top form before District 32-5A play begins soon is of the utmost importance as the Tigers are in one of the state’s toughest districts. The Brownsville ISD schools, Porter, Pace, Lopez and Veterans Memorial are in the district along with the potent Donna schools.
“I have to say that every game is going to be a challenge for every team,” said Almazan. He added that he was fortunate to have nearly every starter back from last year. That includes seniors Maycol Castro (4 goals, 1 asst. this year) and Luis Muñoz (2 goals, 4 assists).
Almazan said Castro and Muñoz are a big part of what the Tigers do and know the system well as four-year players. Juniors and three-year starters Aleks Ramos and Jesus Morales (two goals each) are also big contributors, the coach added.
On defense, the Tigers have rotated senior Erick Gonzalez and Junior Alex Garcia at goalkeeper for the last three years. This season, it’s working very well – like the rest of the Mercedes Tigers team.
The Mercedes Tigers quest for the postseason will begin on January 26th as they open District 32-5A play against Donna High.