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    Centennial senior Nick Scarpello returns for the Spartans this season. BURLESON STAR/RITCH MYERS

Spartans gunning for another playoff trip

After winning just one district game in 2017, Centennial’s boys’ soccer team improved vastly in its second season under coach Brian Boydstun.

The Spartans posted a 5-2-7 record in District 9-5A play and made the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Centennial’s season was halted in the first round of the playoffs with a 1-0 loss to regional power Midlothian. The Spartans ended the season with a record of 11-6-7.

Centennial is off to a 2-0 start this seaosn thanks to wins over Fort Worth Western Hills (4-1) and Saginaw Chisholm Trail (6-0). The Spartans open play today at the Brewer Bear Cave Classic.

Centennial begins District 5-5A play, Jan. 18 hosting Mansfield Legacy.

“They know how to win now,” Boydstun said. “They have confidence in our system of play and are fundamentally sound.”

The Spartans could be tough offensively with forwards Marcos Vasallo and Nick Scarpello, a first-team all-district player last season, up front.

Vasallo, a foreign-exchange student from Spain, is a dynamic player.

“I can’t wait for people to see him play,” Boydstun said. “He makes everyone around him better.”

Centennial’s midfield should be solid with three starters returning in Akwasi Agyei, Chase Epps and Bidauri Trujillo. Ryan Lujan, who was on the varsity last season but didn’t play, could be one of the surprise players in the district, Boydstun said.

Agyei, who earned second-team all-district honors, brings speed to the midfield. Trujillo, an honorable mention player, is a top-flight defensive midfielder and Epps has a great shot, according to Boydstun

Centennial lost a keeper and two defenders to graduation. Another defender Nolan Walker, 5-5A’s defensive newcomer last season, transferred to Joshua, where his father coaches.

But the cupboard isn’t bare with A.J. Pando and Mason McBeath back. Jace Hoover will over at keeper.

“A.J. is our best defender,” Boydstun said. “No one on our team wants to go up against him during practice.”

McBeath, the district’s utility player of the year last season, understands every position on the field, Boydstun said.

Newcomer Andres Huerta will start on defense while Grant Brown and Cole Hilliard are vying for the spot on the backline.

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