Trojans slay Knights in first-round duel to the death in state playoffs

The Southerner

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As the seconds slowly ticked by in the first round of boys varsity soccer state playoffs, the entire stadium came alive. The score was 2-1 in Carrollton’s favor. Grady attempted one last play up the field, but they came up short and couldn’t tie up the game.

The buzzer went off and the game was over. The Carrollton fans erupted into a frenzy of jumping, cheering and applause. Carrollton had won and would advance to the next round in the playoffs. The Grady boys varsity soccer season was over and a disheartened team returned to the bench for the final post-game talk of their 2012 season.

Despite the final result, the Grady team had generated a productive offense and maintained a sturdy defense in the game. They attempted several shots on frame, and Asa Eggleston managed to scored one goal during the first half to enter halftime with a one-nil lead.

“We were able to shut down their best player in the first half,” said senior caption Whit Maupin. “And we didn’t let their game-makers dictate the game. We took control.”

But the second half was a different story for the Grady knights. A shot from Carrollton tied up the game and then a late goal that sealed the victory for the Carrollton Trojans.

Junior captain Justin Williams has his own explanation for why things took a turn for the worse in the second half.

“Even though Grady did really well considering all the injuries the team suffered from and all the starters who were not able to play, we didn’t possess the ball as much as we should have which was a critical factor in why we lost,” Williams said. “Plus, we lost focus on a couple of plays that eventually cost us goals.”

Because Williams had recently suffered an ankle injury, he did not play in the game, but said his teammates still put forth a great amount of effort. He also commended the JV players who had been brought up to Varsity on their stellar performance.

Though Maupin was disappointed with the outcome, he said he doesn’t have many regrets concerning the game or season.

“I wish we had won, because we’ve never won a playoff game since I’ve been at Grady but we all tried extremely hard, so the effort was there and so was the intensity,” Maupin said. “But it was the first time in my high school experience that we had a winning season, which was a huge accomplishment that I think we’re all proud of.”

Though some of the graduating players plan to stay involved with the sport, for the seniors who just played their last game of high school soccer, the ending is more bitter than sweet.

“It was a great senior season but I wish it could have ended better.” said senior Asa Wolfe. “I’m going to miss it so much.”

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