photo courtesy of Chuck Ehmann, Moonlight photography
With the uncertainty of the YMCA soccer season, the JL Long Buccaneers were on the verge of possibly not having it's 20th consecutive season come to a start. A push for registration was started in July in an attempt to bring some normalcy back to students and children for a soccer season with strict Covid-19 safety rules in place. Changes in plans by DISD on when school would start thwarted many parents and students from registering due to the uncertainty of virtual school vs. actually attending school. Finally, a decision was made with the help of both the White Rock YMCA and Richardson YMCA to host games with game day temperature checks, social distancing and sideline mask wearing for spectators and players. For the JL Long Bucs, it was decided that teams would be kept to a maximum of 12 players, since the teams would be playing 9 vs. 9, instead of the usual 11 vs. 11. Registration for the co-ed team in early Fall was slow, but soon after school started and the pre-cautions were made public, more players joined the squad and the Bucs were able to get enough players together to form 2 teams. The players consist of a few returning 7th grade players from last season, 6th graders and even a 4th grader and 5th grader who are the younger siblings of 6th grade players. With special permission, they were allowed to play on the 6th grade team. The blue Bucs team ended up with 12 players and the red Bucs team with 13. What made this season different was that there are 6 players who are legacies from older siblings have played on the JL Long 6th grade Bucs teams over the past decade. And what happens when you have 2 Buccaneers teams during a season? They end up playing each other at some point.
The "Battle of the Bucs was last played back in November of 2018 and before that October of 2016. As this season started and everyone knew there were 2 Bucs teams, all the players wanted to know was when this game would be played. Due to some scheduling issues, game dates changed on us but the "Battle" ensued yesterday in Richardson at Lookout Park. Both teams were pretty evenly matched with both male and female players as this was part of the initial makeup of each team, to create fairness for both teams. The blue team came in with a record of 2-2 and the red team with a record of 3-1.
When the starting whistle blew on the overcast and cool afternoon, a great soccer game ensued. Both teams seemed to take good control of the ball and the blue Bucs were the first to score. The Red team scored and the game was tied. Right before half time the blue Bucs scored again and the game score at halftime was 2-1 in favor of the blue Bucs. Coach Martin and his daughter Kristy gave the blue Bucs a pep talk and Coach Victor and Coach Daniel did their best to pump up the red Bucs team. The whistle blew to start the second half and the red team scored and the game was tied 2-2. The Red team offense had come alive, although both teams appeared a bit worn down as many players were playing the entire game! With about 5 minutes left, the blue Bucs struck again and scored. Although some excellent skillsets were demonstrated on both sides, the final score was 3-2. The blue team won this "Battle of the Bucs" for 2020. And in the end, everyone had fun and the blue team has bragging rights to a win, until the next encounter.