For the Ellison boys soccer team, the mood has shifted and the mentality is set.
The Eagles put a shootout loss to Harker Heights on Tuesday — one that may have crippled their playoff hopes — behind them, and the focus is on holding up their end of the bargain in case they get the help they need.
“Our attitude has basically just been that we need to take care of business,” Eagle head coach Niles Dunnells said. “Obviously, we need some help but we can’t rely on them without doing our part.”
Coming into Tuesday, Ellison had a chance to take a big step toward a second-straight playoff appearance with a win against the Knights, who are also jockeying for the fourth and final playoff spot in District 8-5A.
Jonathon Keene gave Ellison a 1-0 lead in the final 10 minutes of the first half, and the Eagles were less than five minutes away from a crucial regulation victory.
But Heights knotted the game in the 77th minute, and the game went to a shootout, giving both teams a tie in the standings.
Heights got the points advantage by winning the shootout, dealing a big blow to the Eagles’ playoff hopes as they are now four points behind the Knights in the standings.
“We’ll just have to bounce back because this one really hurts,” Dunnells said. “We put so much energy and effort into this game, so it’s a tough one to take.”
The road gets no easier with Temple visiting tonight before a week off for spring break.
The Eagles then end the season at Copperas Cove and at home against Killeen.
And while Temple, a playoff team, poses a formidable challenge, the Eagles are feeling up to the task.
“We just go in, we play the best we can,” Dunnells said. “We feel like we’ll be prepared for them. We gave them a good match over at their place.
“But it’s not going to be easy.”
And with that in mind, the Eagles are prepared to do all that they can at this point in the season — handle their business.