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Soccer coach continues superstition as Rock Bridge advances to semifinals

Saturday, November 12, 2011 | 6:47 p.m. CST; updated 7:40 p.m. CST, Saturday, November 12, 2011
Rock Bridge soccer head coach Kyle Austin gives his team a pep talk at half time during the state quarterfinals at Rock Bridge High School on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins went on to win the game 3-0.

COLUMBIA — According to The Weather Channel website, the temperature will be in the 60s on Friday and Saturday in Blue Springs. 

That forecast has to please Rock Bridge soccer coach Kyle Austin, who has worn the same outfit to his team's games since Sept. 26 when the Bruins began their winning streak.

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Nothing has changed. He hasn't shaved, and he wears the same Rock Bridge hat, Rock Bridge soccer jacket, khaki shorts and Birkenstock sandals.

And the winning streak continues. Rock Bridge beat visiting Nixa High School 2-0 in the Class 3 state quarterfinals Saturday to earn its 19th-straight victory. 

"I shaved the day of Smith-Cotton, and this is the outfit I wore and we kind of got on a win streak," Austin said. "We're 19 games later, and so I don't care if it's 20 degrees on Friday. I'll be sporting this on the sideline."

Rock Bridge (27-3) will take on Oakville High School (20-7-1) in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday at Blue Springs South High School. The championship is set for Saturday.

Austin said he is a somewhat superstitious guy, but more than that he is a man of habit.

"It's my routine, and I do that and it kind of gets me into game mode," he said.

Austin said his adrenaline helps keep him warm during the cold games.

"I'm a shorts and flip-flop guy all the way through December and January, so I don't notice it so much," he said.

What do his players think?

"I hope they don't even notice," Austin said.

It turns out his players are more perceptive than he thinks.

"I just don't get it," said senior Matt Kelly, who had a goal and an assist against Nixa (24-4). "I guess it's just Kyle being Kyle. It can be four degrees outside, and he'll still be wearing shorts. I joked because we had a really cold practice earlier this week and he was wearing pants and I was like, 'This is the first time outside of school that I have seen you wear pants.'"

Fellow senior Ty Griggs agreed.

"Where everyone else is wearing pants outside, he's coming out wearing shorts and no socks," he said.

Austin said he isn't sure whether or not he will pack jeans for the trip to Blue Springs.

"We'll have the shorts and this jacket, and we'll go from there," he said.


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