Robert Bayer

While a week off is Chickasha's reward for a successful soccer season, it also means a little extra this time around.

For the second year running, the Lady Chicks are 4A-2 district champions, going undefeated en route to a first-round bye in playoffs. They'll play either Elk City or Newkirk in the first round at home on Tuesday.

This season, however, they are not alone.

This season, the Chickasha boys join them.

"It's a big turnaround," head coach Bryan Byars said. "We were fighting from the bottom last season. This time, we're at the top."

The Fightin' Chicks also completed an undefeated district season last Friday, beating Elgin 3-0 to finish ahead of Madill and Ada. Either Weatherford or Bethany awaits in the first round of State playoffs on Tuesday, with Chickasha playing hosts.

While the results are about a complete 180-degree turn from this time last year, the seeds of such growth were sown in 2014, Byars said. 

"We have basically the same team from last year," he said. "When I came in, we already had a good foundation with fitness. It's allowed me to go more in depth this season with passing and having the the confidence to know that you can play this ball or that ball and know it's going to the right place."

This is clear to see. Chickasha has maintained a five-game winning streak with a concentrated passing game, keeping the ball on the ground and moving forward with three, four, and sometimes five players set-up in the attack.

Senior Cooper Mosley pulls the strings from the middle, partnering with junior Robert Bayer out of midfield to spark the attack. As a lone striker, senior Cole Young is the main outlet, with wingers Hayden Johnson and Chance Mata racing after any passes out wide.

But attack alone has not seen Chickasha rattle off five-straight shutouts. Junior Sterling Claphan has returned to the center of defense this season after missing all of 2014 with a knee injury.

"It was a bummer (not having Sterling last season," Byars said. "Cooper has fought through a broken nose this season, and we have a couple of guys fighting ankle injuries. But, they want to keep going. I can't keep them off the practice field, they want to work.

"Really since district began, we've had this mentality of 'It could be your last one.' So, you're going 100 percent to improve yourself and make your teammates better."

Riding this thought, Chickasha has propelled itself to new heights this season. Now, they're among the big teams in Class 4A, and every game now could truly be their last.

"I told them don't let that affect the way you play," Byars said. "It's basically a whole new season. That season, you achieved good things, but it's over with. At this point, all the teams we play are going to be good." 

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