When the Cass and Woodland boys soccer teams took the field Friday at Doug Cochran Stadium, it had the look and feel of a Sunday league game in some random city park.
Both teams are familiar with each other, leading to some friendly and some not-so-friendly trash-talking. And, while neither team possesses a great defense, they can link up for some stellar teams goals and score from individual moments of brilliance.
That was all on display in a 7-4 win for the Colonels.
"It was an amazing game," Cass assistant coach Dan Armstead said. "Being a crosstown rival like this, everybody knows each other. I've coached half of the Woodland team; their coaches have coached our kids as they grew up over the years.
"You knew it was going to be intense. They both came out just firing."
That they did.
Cass' Carlos Perez scored the first of his three goals in the 15th minute only to see Woodland's Miguel Hernandez strike a stunner from outside the box five minutes later.
"We have had a defensive problem all season," Armstead said. "We're going to be working on it the rest of the season, as well. These guys are strong. We've got a good group of leaders that are going to pick us all up together."
A penalty kick from Perez and the first of two from Julio Medina gifted the Colonels (3-7, 2-2) a 3-1 halftime lead.
Ten minutes into the second half, the Wildcats (4-5-1, 2-2) scored through Howard Jennings to cut the deficit to one. But the Colonels struck just 47 seconds later through Medina to regain a two-goal edge.
Just minutes later, Cass looked set to cruise to a key Region 7-AAAAA victory when Felipe Albarran notched his second assist, feeding Javier Duarte for the goal.
But, once again, Woodland rallied.
Kevin Moreno scored from open play and then converted a penalty kick past Isai Romero, who made 11 saves, to claw the Wildcats to within 5-4.
"I've got to commend Woodland for coming back," Armstead said. "Being a rival game, they're not going to give up. They really pushed our guys hard. I appreciate that, too, because I was kind of getting upset with them.
"But once Woodland started firing back, it actually energized our guys again. They started working together, and it was some pretty soccer to end the game."
That pretty soccer resulted in two more goals in the final 10 minutes. The first was an exquisite team goal that ended with Perez securing a hat trick, and the second came off a Christian Alvarez free kick, as Anthony Robledo, who added two assists, scored with an incredible flick and finish.
After losing their first two region games, the Colonels seem to be playing with a lot of pride, and Armstead thinks it should lead them back to the state tournament.
"Our guys are growing in confidence now," Armstead said. "We're starting to score a lot of goals. Like I said, our three up front are working together, they're clicking on all cylinders.
"I see us making the playoffs again — just like last year."