GRAFTON— The Knights soccer program ended their unconventional season a little early, after their last regularly scheduled game was cancelled due to COVID-19, something the team faced all season.
The soccer program at Taylor County Middle School was hit hard with game cancelations because of the pandemic and lack of officials, making game time limited often times putting weeks in between games, which presents quite the challenge for a young team.
However, these young men remained dedicated to the sport and program, and each time they were given the opportunity to take to the turf, they left it all on the field.
On Thursday, October 21, the Knights matched up against R.L .Bland, and suffered the 1-0 loss to the Patriots.
“We played pretty even. The boys connected some great passes, and we had opportunities; we just couldn’t get anything to fall,” shared Head Coach Travis Uhl.
Luck would be on the Patriot’s side as they managed to capitalize on an opportunity in the box and put one into the back of the net.
The Knights would come out in the second half looking for redemption, controlling the ball and taking several shots on goal.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, Knight Cameron Gray took the ball deep in the corner and made a perfect cross to Noah Uhl, however a questionable defensive grab by the Patriots went uncalled and kept Uhl from scoring.
“I was irate due to the obvious grab around our players neck,” Coach Uhl explained. “The Patriots defender was just so big that the ref never had a clear view of the grab. I told them that the refs are human and can’t see everything. You just need to keep playing.”
Unfortunately, that would bring the contest to a close, with the Patriots having the 1-0 edge over the Knights.
“I was very proud of the boys as we only had one sub due to COVID quarantine,” Uhl noted.
Next up, the Knights would return to their home field on Monday, October 25, for what would end up being their final game of the season, and this time, they got the redemption they had been searching for.
Back on their home turf at McKinney Field against Barbour County, the Knights owned the game and shut down Barbour from the first whistle.
The Knights dominated play on the pitch, making great passes and were able to maintain possession of the ball, but couldn’t connect on of any of their shots.
With just two minutes remaining in the first half of action, the Knights took it down in the 18 box of Barbour, where Gray made a beautiful cross to Kaige Andrews.
From there, Andrews took a hard shot that bounced off the Barbour keeper, sending the ball out to N. Uhl, who would take a second hard shot.
This time the shot would find its way across the line as it bounced off a defender and the keeper before settling in the goal for a 1-0 lead.
The Knights’ tough back line of Noah Foley, Gage Alexander, Bryce Kelley and Charlie Halfin only allowed Barbour have one shot on goal, and “Brayden “Beastmode” Bailey also played outstanding defense, which contributed to the Knights maintaining the lead through the final whistle and claiming the W.
“The boys played hard as always. I am blessed to coach such a great group. These boys leave everything on the field and play real team soccer. They are just going to give me a heart attack as they always seem to play 1-0 games,” laughed coach Uhl.
Individual player stats were not available for the RLB contest.
Individual plater stats vs Barbour:
Parker Riffle -1 steal, Drew Moore - 2 shots, 1 intercept, Cameron Gray - 1 shot, 1 steal, 1 intercept, Charlie Halfin -1 steal, 2 intercepts, Brayden Bailey - 6 intercept, Kaige Andrews- 4 shots, 1 steal, Noah Foley- 1 intercept, Bryce Kelley- 1 shot, 2 steals, 10 intercepts, Noah Uhl - 3 shots, 1 goal, 2 intercepts, Tyler Clemm - 1 save