GHS Bearcat Soccer off to a strong start for 2022 season

Every season, for each win or tie, the Bearcat Soccer team honors the town’s railroading heritage by placing a golden spike in their box. Here, the team celebrates their first spike of the season, after taking down the Poca Dots at home. (Photo courtesy of Grafton Bearcats Soccer)

GRAFTON—The Grafton High School (GHS) Bearcat Soccer program got their season underway last Saturday, toppling the Dots of Poca High School 7-1, during a home match-up at McKinney Field.

It would be junior midfielder Landen Hulley who would strike the first blow against Poca. With a steal at the four-minute mark in the first half, he stole the ball and quickly found the back of the net from 15 yards out for the Cats.

“We then continued with possession, but just couldn’t put it together to score another in the first half,” Head Coach Arthur Knight revealed.

The second half would see the Bearcats dominating the field early, with four goals made within the first 12 minutes of play. 

The first attack came from Colton Sanders from over 20 yards out off a Spencer Copeland assist at the two-minute mark, followed by a shot by Copeland who found the back of the net off of an assist from Layne England, just two minutes later.

Hulley once again scored for the Cats, this time on a penalty kick following a foul in the box on Jude Minard.

The Dots attempted to rally following Hulley’s goal and found the back of the net, finally putting a score on the board. However, the Bearcats wouldn’t lift the pressure on the field and continued to dominate.

Hulley was able to steal the ball from Poca at the 12-minute mark, and with a third goal scored from 25 yards out earned a Hat Trick.

At the 22-minute England, off an assist by Hulley, placed the ball into the corner of the goal for a 6-1 lead. And with a goal by Connor Abraham, the Cats closed out the contest with a score of 7-1 over the Dots.

Then, on Tuesday, the Bearcats traveled to Pony Lewis Field at JW Ruby Stadium in Morgantown to take on the AAA defending State Champions the Morgantown High Mohigans, in a game that would see both teams putting forth huge efforts.

Although both teams showcased great skill during the first half of play, neither team was able to find the back of the net, and the score sat at 0-0 going into half time.

“After kickoff, we controlled the midfield and had majority of ball possession for 25 minutes but just could not get past the strong Mohigan defense,” Knight disclosed. “The start of second half saw a lot of midfield play again, with both teams putting a couple of shots on goal but unable to get it past either goalie.”

GHS Goalie Bryson Kittle kept the Morgantown team from scoring during the second half, using the length of his body with a few full extension saves. Unfortunately, the Mohigan goalie was just as skillful at keeping the Cats out of the net, and when the final whistle sounded, the score still sat at nil nil.

“We told the young men before the game that this was going to be like a playoff game, and it was definitely a dog fight,” Knight voiced.

On Wednesday, it was the junior varsity (JV) team’s turn to showcase their skills, as they traveled to AAA Preston High School.

“This was a very evenly matched game with a lot of midfield play again,” Knight disclosed.

It would be sophomore Avery Duckworth who would score the lone goal in the first, sending the Cats into halftime with a score of 1-0.

“With the Bearcat JV only having one sub for the second half, our young men battled with the Preston Knights but played a lot on our heels because of tired legs,” Knight reported.

With just nine seconds left in play, the Knights found the back of the net, bringing the score to 1-1. And although the Cats rallied, they were unable to score before the final whistle blew.

The Bearcat Soccer varsity team will be back in action tonight, as they travel to Point Pleasant to take on the Black Knights of Point Pleasant High School.  The results from that contest will be featured in an upcoming edition of the Mountain Statesman.

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