Prep Rally | Consistency name of the game for Palmetto boys soccer

jlembo@bradenton.comJanuary 25, 2013 

Palmetto's boys are playing for a district soccer championship Friday night.

On the Shocking News of the Day scale, that ranks slightly below 5 p.m. gridlock.

The Tigers are playing for a district championship because that's what the Tigers do -- play for district championships.

They have done so 11 times in 12 years under head coach Dustin Dahlquist, which means they have made the region tournament 11 times in 12 years.

So much for the cyclical world of high school sports.

Snarkiness aside, what the Tigers have done doesn't happen too often, which is why it should be savored.

Making a title game isn't easy, especially because the Florida High School Athletic Association, in an effort to keep up with fluctuating enrollments, scrambles the districts every two years.

Just when you get a good feel for your foes, all of a sudden you have a brand new set of names, faces and schemes to decipher.

That hasn't fazed Palmetto, which plays for the Class 3A-District 10 championship Friday at Seminole Osceola.

Regardless of the tournament, size of the district or site of the final, the Tigers have been a championship game stalwart.

Much of the credit goes to Dahlquist, the program's one true constant who churns out competitive teams year after year.

Yes, the players win championships, but someone needs to stir the soup consistently. That's Dahlquist, who stepped away from the team in 2007 when he was named the high school's assistant principal.

A year later, however, he was back on the sideline. And he was there because

everybody decided it was the best thing for the program, including Matt Foy, who was Dahlquist's successor.

Upon hearing his friend wanted back in, Foy stepped aside and graciously took over the girls team.

"Without him," Foy said at the time, "it's a struggle."

Still think a coach doesn't make much of a difference?

Dahlquist and his boys have made history together, becoming the county's first public school boys soccer team to reach a state final four, and then becoming the first to do it twice, all the while advancing to four straight region championship games.

So Friday night marks one more go for district gold, and next week ushers in another start to a region tournament.

It's not the first time Palmetto's boys soccer team has been down this road.

Smart money says it won't be the last.

John Lembo, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2097. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnLembo1878.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service