The boys soccer team at Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis is another win away from making history, not only for the school, but for the city and district.
Diamond Hill-Jarvis (25-4-2) plays Boerne (21-1-1) in the UIL Class 4A state championship at 10 a.m. Saturday at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown.
A win for the Eagles will give Fort Worth ISD its first UIL soccer state title. Making the state semifinals was a first for the district in soccer, boys or girls. DHJ beat Celina, 4-2, on Tuesday in Southlake.
“I continue to be proud of these guys,” said DHJ coach Kyle Reopelle following the Celina win.
Not only are the Eagles making school history, but Fort Worth history.
In the six major team sports (football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, baseball), the FW Southwest boys basketball team is the last to reach a state final (2008).
Dunbar girls basketball owns the last state championship (2007). The Dunbar boys basketball team has the last male state championship (2006).
“It’s an honor to represent Fort Worth and this city going forward,” Reopelle said. “So many great schools and so many coaches, boys and girls that work really hard day in and day out.”
Coming to Fort Worth
Reopelle is in his fourth season with DHJ, third as head coach.
The Illinois native grew up around the game and played at a small NAIA school Olivet Nazarene, 100 miles south of Chicago. He and his wife moved to Texas six years ago.
“Diamond Hill is an amazing tight knit community. They live and breathe soccer,” Reopelle said. “I’m for all sports, but these kids from an early age live and breathe this beautiful game.”
Four seasons ago, Reopelle was an assistant coach under Dan Russell.
The Eagles won 24 games in 2018, but lost in the first round against Dallas Life Oak Cliff.
In Reopelle’s first season at the helm, DHJ won 15 games. Then 18.
“I don’t deserve it. The former coach Dan Russell did everything in his power to make sure once he moved on that I got the job,” Reopelle said. “Very grateful for him. They improved every year and now we’re going to state.”
State championship preview
This year’s team has won 19 straight games.
The Eagles have 17 shutouts and are outscoring opponents 105-22.
“It’s a small town feel here. The whole community wants to see it for all sports,” DHJ football coach Oscar Castillo said. “It’s a big deal. Kyle is a stand-up guy and does everything by the book. It’s awesome to see and I’m excited for him.”
In the 4A Region 2 final, senior Jonathan Lopez scored a penalty kick with 3:58 left in overtime to down Mineral Wells, 2-1. In the regional semifinals against Stephenville, DHJ scored with three minutes remaining in regulation.
“Thankful for the one above and all our supporters,” said Lopez, one of 10 seniors. “Since freshman year, we wanted to make something big and I knew this team was capable of something special. We grew a lot during the summer, trained hard and bought in. The work is paying off. The number one thing I like about this school is the support. This team, this community feels like family. All love here.”
“It’s an unbelievable dream come true, but the work isn’t done yet,” DHJ senior defender Andres Montes added after the win over Celina. “We aren’t finished here, but we deserve it. We’ve been working as a team and it’s been amazing.”
Four players scored against Celina, Cristian Alvarez, Edgar Rodriguez, Jaime Rivera and Ricardo Gonzalez, a player of the week winner this season.
DHJ is balanced with four players with 10 or more goals, four players with 10 more assists and a few players with 10 and 10. Reopelle said that it just shows how much of a total team effort it is.
Added Reopelle, “Knowing they went to state and farther than any other sports team in Diamond Hill history is extremely rewarding.”
Boerne comes in also with a 19-game winning streak. The Greyhounds have 14 shutouts and a goal differential of 112-14. They have posted two straight shutouts and are outscoring opponents in the playoffs 20-4.
DFW going for history
The girls get started in Georgetown with three championship games Friday. The boys have three on Saturday. In all six games, one school from the area is represented.
DHJ (4A), Wakeland (5A) and Rockwall-Heath (6A) go for the boys.
The UIL went to two classes during the 1999 soccer season and three in 2015.
Since 1999, DFW has never swept the state championships. DFW girls went 3 for 3 in 2015 and 2016 while boys have won just five times since the UIL jumped to three classes.
Since going to three classes, DFW has never reached the state soccer championships in all six title games. DFW girls made it to all three games four times while the boys make it in all three games in back-to-back postseasons and three overall.
Wakeland looks to win both titles in the same season for the second time (2018). That feat only happened one other time. Heritage won a 4A title in 2018. Flower Mound won in 2016. Heath is making its first trip.
The season will be considered a success after the 2020 postseason was canceled because of COVID-19.