Devils win 2-1 in Division III tournament battle –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
The Southeast District Division III Boys Soccer Tournament came to North Adams High School on Wednesday, Oct. 18 and it was two familiar foes facing off, as the Green Devils welcomed the Peebles Indians to town, with one of the two county teams advancing to the districts and one seeing their season come to an end.
With that much on the line, the contest between the two county rivals was played out just as expected- physical, fast-paced, and low scoring, with the host squad eventually coming out on top and staking claim to their third consecutive sectional championship.
The Green Devils were the first to break the ice as their leading scorer, senior Tray Brand, continued his outstanding season with the game’s first goal at the 30:32 mark of the first half. A lethal combination of size and speed, Brand broke through the Peebles defense and fired off a shot that got by Indians’ keeper Wade Shiveley to give the home team the early advantage.
The game turned defensive at that point, with the next real scoring opportunity coming on a North Adams corner kick off the foot of Jaden Hesler, which resulted in an Ethan Campbell header that went just wide of the goal.
Most of the first half was played on the North Adams offensive end of the field and the home team took advantage of that with 6:13 left in the half and once again it was the powerful right leg of Tray Brand producing his second goal of the game and the two teams went to the intermission with the Devils on top 2-0.
Whatever speech that Peebles coach Brian Seaman told his team at halftime certainly impressed his troops, as they looked like a totally different squad in the final 40 minutes. The Indians had a little more spark in their step and found numerous scoring opportunities that weren’t there in the first half. Midway through the second half, a corner kick by Tanner Schmitz sailed just high, but the Indians finally got on the board with 13:35 to play when a scramble in front of the net culminated in a Weston Browning goal that sliced the North Adams lead in half.
The Indian had one more golden opportunity to tie the score with five minutes to play when a direct kick by Kalub Smith got over the head of leaping North Adams keeper Cole Wagner but sailed just inches above the crossbar.
That set up a frantic final five minutes with the Indians attempting to forge the tie but the Devils thwarted every rush and managed to hang on for the 2-1 win and the sectional championship.
“This game was a tale of two halves,” said North Adams head coach Ike Wooten. “They wanted it more in the second half but we found a way at the end to close it out.”
The loss ended the Peebles season with a final record of 7-8-2 and was the final battle in the career of seniors Conner Browning, George Werner, Tanner Schmitz, Kalub Smith, Andrew Shannon, and Wade Shiveley.
“I’m so proud of these guys and the way they played,” said Coach Seaman of his Indians. “Our second half of the season was so much better than the first and I truly believed that we could win this game today. We played the game the way it was supposed to be played and represented Peebles High School in an outstanding fashion.”
“All of our kids brought their ‘A’ games today and we had to have that to be in this game like we were.”