Harrisonville has always been known as a football town. Can it also be a fútbol town?
It’s certainly both right now.
While Harrisonville’s football team is making a run at another state championship, the Wildcats boys’ soccer team is on a title chase of its own.
Harrisonville soccer’s first state tournament appearance begins at noon Friday, Nov. 10, against Washington in a Class 3 semifinal game at the Worldwide Technology Soccer Park in suburban St. Louis.
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Even with the football team hosting Webb City the same night in Class 4 state quarterfinal, Wildcats soccer coach Dan Coleman said there’s enough excitement in the community to share.
“Football has definitely had a lot of success, and Harrisonville should be proud of that,” Coleman said. “But we’ve had success in a lot of different areas and the people involved are wanting to make sure everyone gets the support they need and deserve. It makes for a wonderful environment to be part of.”
Harrisonville’s soccer program, like football, has been a consistent winner for some time. But while the Wildcats have five state football titles, including last year’s Class 4 championship, the soccer team had never made it past sectionals until this season.
That barrier fell with a 1-0 victory Oct. 31 at Marshall and the Wildcats punched their first-ever ticket to state Nov. 4 with a 2-1 come-from-behind home victory against East High School from Kansas City, Mo.
The Bears grabbed the lead with a quick counterattack early in the second half, but the Wildcats regrouped and equalized with a rebound goal from senior Tyler Falkenburg midway through the half. Striker Seth Wiebusch’s shot was stopped by East’s goalkeeper when Falkenburg charged the net and delivered his first varsity goal.
Wiebusch, the Wildcats’ second-leading scorer with just under 40 goals, knocked in the game-winner off a restart just outside the penalty box with 15 minutes to play.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Coleman said. “We feel like we’ve had a lot of good teams, a lot of good talent.”
Harrisonville (25-3), which won 19 consecutive games at one stretch, boasts the best record among the Class 3 semifinalists, but Coleman knows the Wildcats face a tough test in Washington.
Led by Conlan Jarvis, one of the top scorers in the St. Louis area with 28 goals and 15 assists, and Jeremiah Collins, who has 18 goals and 20 assists, Coleman said Washington (24-8) could pose one of the toughest challenges Harrisonville faced all season.
“We’re definitely putting in our homework,” Coleman said. “We don’t want to shake up too much of what we do, because clearly what we’ve been doing has been working, but we’ve got to make some adjustments to what the teams are doing, because there are different styles out there.”
Coleman isn’t worried about how the Wildcats will adjust to a long road trip, because they went through that routine when they took a two-day run to Rolla last month. He also won’t have to worry about how many Wildcats fans will choose football over soccer.
Harrisonville will have buses set up to take students to both games. The soccer game begins at noon and, after it’s over, they will make it back to Harrisonville in time to cheer on the football team.
Classes at the high school — and only the high school, sorry middle and elementary school children — have been canceled for Friday, so everyone can see Wildcats fútbol and football.
“We’re trying to make it a community of successful activities,” Coleman said. “We want to support each other and help everyone be successful.”