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FC Lobos & JL Long 6th grade Bucs teams

The JL Long 6th grade Bucs team has had some recent struggles as of late.  Going from an undefeated season in the Fall to a slow start this Spring.  Much can be said about the Spring woes in a 6th grade player's mind, other school activities, more sports to choose from, missed practices, injuries, and the difficulty of middle school in general.  However, many of the Bucs players have just said they had not been trying as hard and have not been giving 100%.  Yesterday, was a game that was highly anticipated by the Bucs as they were once again facing the FC Lobos. Probably not much of a different team on the schedule, unless you looked closely.  The FC Lobos team consists of 6th and 7th graders also from JL Long Middle School, some of whom have played with the Bucs in their 6th grade year!  The Bucs had faced this team earlier in the season and lost dismally.  So, this game was unique in that all the players not only knew each other, but the coaches did too!  Coach Hector Martinez helped coach the 6th grade Bucs team back in 2014! The Bucs had prepared a different strategy focusing on defense to keep the ball out of goal!  Saturday was a beautiful sunny day with high winds and temperatures in the 50's, but fantastic soccer weather.  As parents, and players lined up on the sidelines with coats and blankets a huge pep talk was given to the Bucs by the coaches and all the players said they would it give it their all. The players lined up in their positions to face the FC Lobos and the game started!  A fantastic demonstration of ball handling skills was shown by the Lobos players as they came up to the defensive line where multiple times the Bucs players stopped the ball!  Goalie, JT Santos dove, jumped and slid to stop oncoming attempts at the goal.  Some other phenomenal stops on the goal that could only be explained if seen were performed by Zach Strong, Dexter Haberstock, Eli Lane, Evelyn McKenna and Alex Moodley.  It was obvious that the practice had paid off as they thwarted numerous attempts by the Lobos to score!  At half time the score was 2-0 in favor of the Lobos, but clearly this game was in much better position for the Bucs than the first.  Some skinned knees and tired defensive players listened as additional guidance was given on the sidelines.  The second half was an exciting one with several shots on goal attempted by the Bucs and some great ball handling by Clyde Araiza, the lone 5th grader on the Bucs team, demonstrated some great team effort.  In the end, the Bucs lost to the Lobos 4-0, but the grit, sweat and determination made this one of the most exciting games of the season to watch from the sidelines!  Afterwards, you saw high fives, chest bumps, handshakes and hugs from members of both teams and a photo-op was taken to show that despite being on different teams, in the end it is about friendship and comradery.

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