OKLAHOMA CITY —
The Chickasha High School boys soccer team couldn't get past the defending 5A state champions, Northwest Classen, on Tuesday night.
But that's not what this season was really about in head coach Scott Parkinson's first year. It was about taking a struggling program, and making sure that it was better after the season than it was before.
"I just think every day we strived to get a little bit better, and the goal has always been just to better last year," Parkinson said. "Now, it's hard to take when you know you've achieved that three games ago, and you can't get that next win. Once we met our target, we wanted to see how far we could go, and we couldn't get any further."
The Fightin' Chicks lost 5-0 to Northwest Classen, ending their season with a 7-6 record.
Chickasha was only down one goal at halftime, and looked to be holding their own, but things came apart in the second half, with Northwest Classen scoring four goals in the last 23 minutes of play.
"It's lapses in concentration," Parkinson said. "I think if my boys can learn to play for 80 minutes, we can compete, but we just seem to fall asleep for 15, 20 minutes a game, and I think that's just killed us."
In his first year as head coach, Parkinson said he learned that every team is beatable, and that what often separates the great teams from the rest is a transcendent individual talent.
"Every team is beatable. Most of the better teams have certain individuals that just run riots," Parkinson said. "A lot of teams are very similar in a lot of areas, and they just seem to have that one superstar that people struggle to handle."
After the game, Parkinson's remarks to his players weren't about the game that had just been played, but about the progress the program had made, and about the future.
The Chickasha boys had their first winning season since 2009, improved on last season's district finish and won the Chickasha Invitational tournament. The improvement came during a season in which the team only had three regular season home games.
Parkinson thanked his seniors for their contributions to the team, and spoke directly to the returning players, telling them what would be expected of them in the future. He said he believes Chickasha's program has players with star potential.
"I've asked a couple of the boys in my little chat with them at the end of the year that they need to put the program on their shoulders now, and they need to understand how good they are," Parkinson said. "Some of my boys are as good as anyone they play against, and are probably going to play for NCAA colleges, and at times they just don't realize how good they are."