Heading into their Class 6A state soccer final against a 27-1 San Antonio L.E.E. team that was a state finalist in 2019, Rockwall-Heath coach Phil Duhon didn’t see the match as a “David vs. Goliath” thing.
“Every match we played I felt like we were going to win,” said Duhon.
Nor did he want the Hawks to be seen as a Cinderella story though they didn’t win any of their last seven regular season matches before hitting a hot streak in the playoffs. They held the opponents to only one goal in playoff wins over Waxahachie, Duncanville, Klein Forest, Bridgeland and Allen to reach the finals.
“We don’t want to be Cinderella, we want to be giants,” said Duhon before the match.
The Hawks played like giants in the state finals but L.E.E. was just a bit taller to win 2-0 on goals by Henry Bowland and Giovani Garcia.
“We did play hard and we were disappointed not to win,” said Duhon. “They were better than us on the day. We felt like the run of play in the second half we were more dominant.”
The Hawks had some scoring opportunities in the second half but just didn’t find the net.
Still, the Hawks are proud of their accomplishments as they finished at 15-9-5 for the season.
“To be second place in the state of Texas in 6A is a really good accomplishment,” said Duhon. “We can hold our heads high.”
Duhon has ample reasons to feel optimistic about next season because at the end of the match the Hawks were playing three seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen.
“We had a lot of seniors but it wasn’t a senior-only team,” he said.
Still, the Hawks will have to replace some talented seniors.
“We’ll miss Brock Bernard and Chris Rodriguez,” he said.
Duhon noted the great support the team received from the fans during the playoffs and in the state championship match at Georgetown.
‘We were really happy to see all the fans there,” he said. “We had great support at the final in Georgetown.”
The Hawks made a point after the championship match “to turn around and thank our fans,” he said.
After becoming the first soccer team from Rockwall County to reach the state finals, the bar has been raised for the program.
“We intend to be back next year,” said Duhon.