County battle decided in game’s 55th minute
By Mark Carpenter –
Though it was a last-minute scheduled non-conference contest, that didn’t take the edge off a boys county soccer battle on Monday, Aug. 29 at West Union High School. The Dragons hosted the North Adams Green Devils, and the action did not disappoint anyone in attendance, as the two teams battled tooth and nail right to the finish, with one goal being the difference as the Devils left town with a 1-0 win in their pockets.
The action went back and forth through the midfield for 80 minutes and according to North Adams head coach Ike Wooten, his team had numerous scoring opportunities but wer continually turned back by the outstanding play of the West Union defensive backs and Dragons’ goalkeeper Chase Cummings, who in Wooten’s words, “made professional saves all night.” The goalkeeping wasn’t too shabby on the North Adams side either as freshman Cole Wagner recorded his first “clean sheet” of the year while recording six saves.
The first half of the game was battled to a scoreless tie, and West Union coach Kevin Hunter knew his team had its chances in both halves.
“We had multiple runs on goal, one in the back of the net that was ruled offsides and a handful that ricocheted around from post to post,” said Hunter. “As always I played through my bench and everyone on the team contributed to the effort. The boys communicated well and operated like a well-oiled machine. Our defense was superb and our keeper was just one mistake shy of a shutout.”
“Offensively we had the speed but were just lacking the ball movement in their 18 to execute.”
The only goal of the game came 15 minutes into the second half and went on the North Adams side of the scoreboard as a splitting pass from senior Patrick England to freshman Brandon Figgins resulted in Figgins finding the back of the net for the first time in his high school career, setting off a celebration that included a big hug from Figgins’ brother Ben, a senior for the Green Devils.
“We continued to test the West Union keeper with a shot off the post and several near misses,” said Coach Wooten. “The game was a battle of will all night through the midfield.”
“Our boys played a strong game tonight,” added WU Coach Hunter. “They proved to North Adams that there is another team in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference that they need to worry about. Our team is a solid group of conditioned athletes and I think they can out hustle and out play anyone in the conference. Tonight was a prime example of that. It only takes one goal to win sometimes and tonight North Adams was able to squeeze that ‘one’ in. My hats off to Coach Wooten and his team as they always prove to be tough competitors on the field and friends off the field.”
Both teams are back in action on Friday, Sept.2 as the Green Devils will get their only shot this season at perennial SHAC power Lynchburg, in a game that will be played at North Adams. The Dragons will remain in the county but go on the road to Peebles to face a young group of Indians in the first SHAC contest for West Union.
After those battles, the Green Devils will face a tough and fast Ripley team on the road on Sept. 7, while the Dragons will be home that same day for a non-conference tilt with Williamsburg.