NEW CANEY - Chris McDermand almost didn't know what to do.
The fifth-year Huffman men's soccer coach hopped a few times down the sideline before bursting into a sprint with his arms spread wide like a Falcon looking for any one of his players to hug. Then the architect of this program watched as yet another gold ball trophy was handed to his players and hoisted into the cool April night air with sounds of pure joy exuding from his team.
McDermand wearing his black Huffman soccer polo matched with black slacks then climbed up onto a trainer's table on the sideline, stepping around the Gatorade coolers and other equipment while he walked down high-fiving nearly every member of the Falcon Loud Crowd before finally laying on the turf and just soaking it all in.
Huffman was heading to state. A 1-0 overtime victory over district rival Splendora on Friday night ensured more history for the Falcon soccer program.
"I was just thinking back to all of the hot days in August and September and just making it through till now," McDermand said about what went through his mind while laying down. "Just how much work these guys put in. We had the biggest crowd we've ever had, so they were right there behind us. I could see them when I was laying down.
"It was nuts. I didn't play a minute and I felt exhausted."
FINAL SCORE (Region III-4A Final) @Athletics_SISD - 0@Huffman_Soccer - 1 @HuffmanISD it’s time to gas up the charter bus again!!! Huffman is heading to the #UILState Tournament for the first time in program history. #txhssoccer @Coach_MacHHS @LethalSoccer @KPRC2RandyMc pic.twitter.com/vcOkupV8pU— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) April 10, 2021
At the end of regulation, both teams had peppered the nets but to no avail, it would take overtime and maybe even penalty kicks to settle this one.
In the 82nd minute, senior Angel Aguas was fouled in the box, which awarded him a penalty kick, which he buried in the right bottom corner of the net for his 21st score of the year. Goalie Sam Calzada kept a clean sheet for the 10th time this season with numerous saves, pushing him over 100 for the year.
"It feels amazing, we've been working hard all year," Aguas said. "[State] is new to us, it means everything. We have a great team. We're coming for it this year with everything."
Caldaza added: "We just executed what coach had planned for us. I followed his orders and had a clean sheet and we go to the next round."
VYPE Postgame 🎙: @Huffman_Soccer senior Angel Aguas who scored goal 21 of the season and goalie Sam Calzada who registered his 10th shutout of the season talk with VYPE after the win. #txhssoccer @HuffmanISD @Coach_MacHHS @HuffmanHoops @Huffman_Falcons @LethalSoccer pic.twitter.com/XkC4RmottT— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) April 10, 2021
This run to the state semifinals for this team is remarkable, not just because of the fact that it is the first time in program history but because the Falcons started the year 5-5-5 and since then have gone 11-2-1, including 5-0 in the playoffs.
"These guys did something the last three or four weeks and just clicked," McDermand said. "We got hot at the right time and they all accepted their roles and bought in. They just made it happen."
Huffman moves on to face Boerne in the State Semifinal which is set to be played at Columbus High School on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Falcons' men's soccer team joins the men's basketball team as Huffman programs that have advanced to state this year.
VYPE Postgame: @Huffman_Soccer coach Chris McDermand who started this program from scratch five years ago was HYPED after the win. #txhssoccer @HuffmanISD @Huffman_Falcons @Coach_MacHHS @HHSLoudCrowd @HTownHSS @KPRC2RandyMc pic.twitter.com/HfzolRFOgK— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) April 10, 2021