North Adams boys finish 12-7 after loss to unbeaten Northwest –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
After disposing of Rock Hill in the Division III district semi-finals, Coach Ike Wooten and his North Adams Green Devils boys soccer squad faced their toughest challenge of the season as they ventured back to Waverly High School for the district title game, their first in school history, facing off with an unbeaten and extremely talented team of Northwest Mohawks, with a berth in the regional tournament on the line.
The two teams had met on a rainy night at Northwest in the regular season with the Mohawks pulling out a 1-0 victory, and everyone expected a rough and physical outing in the district match up and they weren’t disappointed as the two teams knocked each other around for 80 minutes, ultimately resulting in two Green Devils being carded and ejected, and Northwest rolling to a 6-1 victory.
“We knew the game was going to be a battle and we were forced to play short-handed,” said Coach Wooten. “Max Schwan had received a concussion in the sectional finals and wasn’t cleared to play and out two center mids were away at the National FFA Convention.. We were bled in the middle and I was forced to play everyone out of their natural positions and it showed.”
Northwest controlled most of the action in the district final, getting a goal from Tyler Webb in the fourth minute, a penalty kick goal from Harald Rundquist at the 15:03 mark of the half, and then rattled off three goals in the last 10 minutes of the half to take a commanding 5-0 lead at the break.
North Adams finally got on the board two minutes into the second half when freshman Andrew Brand got one past the Northwest keeper, a goal which Coach Wooten had a unique perspective on. “It was kind of fitting that on Andrew’s goal, the assist came from his brother Tray, who is a senior,” said Wooten. “It was kind of like Tray passing the baton to his younger brother.”
The Mohawks, who made their first-ever appearance in the regional tourney, added a final goal with 3:14 to play after both coaches had emptied their benches, allowing their substitutes to get a taste of district play, and the final horn sounded with Northwest on top 6-1.
“We finished the year at 12-7 and won our third consecutive sectional championship,” said Wooten. “The past two years we have graduated large classes of seniors and I knew going into this season that we would have to play a lot of guys with little or no varsity experience, but rather than watering down the schedule, we decided to beef it up. In the entire Southeast District, our strength of schedule was third behind South Webster and Lynchburg. Honestly, I could have lived with an 8-8 season but I wanted to test them this year with a little eye ahead to next year. “
“It paid off for us, we advanced further in the tournament than we ever had and played as a true team. All in all, it was a great season and we have much to look forward to losing just two seniors, Tray Brand and Tyler Horsley.”