For one coach, it was his team’s best contest of the season, a resounding victory on home field.
For another, it was a mistake-filled game where the end result was hardly a surprise.
As Jason Clark’s and Mike Horner’s boys soccer squads get set to clash for the second and final time in 2012, both know the first meeting has nothing to do with how the second will turn out.
“In this division, you have to face every team twice, and how we played and how we did the first time has no bearing on this game,” Clark, the coach at West Bloomfield High, said last week. His team beat North Farmington 3-0 earlier this season and travels to play at the Raiders’ home field at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 in an Oakland Activities Association Blue Division rematch.
“The key for us is keeping our focus and having that understanding that we can’t take them for granted,” Clark continued. “The first game was probably the best of the season for us, but it won’t play a part in this one at all.”
“They beat us pretty soundly, but we made some very costly mistakes that gave them some great chances,” Horner said of his team’s play in the first game. “If we can fix those mistakes and play a more fundamental game, things should be much closer and much better.”
Both squads seem to be hitting their stride as the season winds on.
The Lakers were 9-4-1 at press time and atop the Blue Division with a 6-0-0 record.
North Farmington was 5-4-1 overall and 5-1-1 in Blue play.
The importance of this game as far as a league champ is concerned is clear.
“This is a huge game,” Clark said. “Our goal is to stay focused and find a way to win the league. You do that by defending your home field and stealing some games on the road. This is one we’re motivated to steal.”
“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” Horner said. “We’ve played better this season against some of the better teams on our schedule. We feel like we didn’t put forth our best effort in the first game against them, but we have the confidence that we can change that. And if we still want to have a chance at winning this league, this is a game we have to have.”