Waco Magnolia West soccer

Waco High’s Juan Arroyo (right) battles Magnolia West’s Juan Rubio (left) for the ball during the Lions’ win Tuesday night.

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte

Waco High soccer hopes to continue the fun ride as the Lions gear up for the program’s second-ever regional semifinal appearance.

Since that deep run in 2011, Waco High has advanced to sectionals once (2012), the regional quarterfinals once (2013) and area three times (2014-16).

“We feel great,” Nate Lopez said. “To get past that second round, and now the third one, and finally get where we wanted to go feels amazing.”

But the Lions aren’t settling for matching history. They want to exceed it.

“The one thing pushing us today is focusing on the fact that we worked really hard to get here,” coach Kris Kahler said. “Make sure to keep your eye on the prize. The further you go in the playoffs, the heavier your tears get. We’re making sure the tears we cry at the end of the road when we’re state champs are tears of joy.”

Waco High has the chance to do that at 4 p.m. Friday against Kingwood Park in Humble.

The game will be played on Kingwood Park’s home pitch, Turner Stadium.

Trying a new approach this season, Waco High hasn’t watched any film or talked much about the Panthers.

“We go into every game knowing nothing and trying to figure out everything,” Kahler said. “In years past we provided scouting reports left and right. It didn’t turn out the way we expected them to.”

If the Lions top the Panthers, Waco High would advance to face the winner between Waller and Sharpston who play at 6 p.m. Friday.

The regional final game is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. at Turner Stadium.

In the rankings

A pair of area teams are currently No. 1 in the state — Abbott (1A baseball) and West (3A softball).

Abbott is 12-2 on the season, while West is 21-2-1.

Along with Abbott in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association poll this week are Groesbeck and Robinson.

Groesbeck (14-4) is currently sixth in 3A, while Robinson (16-2) is third.

Five more teams join West in the Texas Girls Coaches Association poll — Whitney, Crawford, Axtell, Lorena and Robinson.

Whitney is 14 spots below West in the 3A poll at 15th with a 19-3 record on the season.

Crawford (19-3-1) and Axtell (11-5-1) are fifth and No. 14 respectively in 4A, while Lorena (16-1-2) sits in second with Robinson (18-4) in 11th in 4A.

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