Boys soccer wins big in first round of state playoffs


William Randall

Junior defender Zach Spangler passes the ball during the Knights 8-0 playoff win against Apalachee.

William Randall and Cole Parker

The Midtown boys varsity soccer team defeated Apalachee by a score of 8-0 in the first round of the state playoffs.

The Knights started fast and strong with a goal 7 minutes into the game from senior captain Chase Palmer. Palmer saw his goal as a great way to get the team settled into the game.

“[The goal] felt pretty good,” Palmer said. “It was kind of what we needed to get us going in the game. I told the team before the game I was going to score first, so I had to be a man of my word.”

With five more first half goals coming from freshman Lathan Johnson in the 18th minute, senior Angus Anderson in the 26th and 38th minute, junior Sebastiaan Marder in the 33rd minute, and freshman Beshoy Eldaif in the 35th minute, Palmer was surprised but extremely pleased with the teams performance.

“I’m actually really proud of the way we played honestly,” Palmer said. “I was pretty pretty surprised but then again, I also have a lot of confidence in my team. I knew we were gonna come out strong so I’m really proud of the way they played and how much confidence everybody had.”

Head coach Jaime Benedetti was hoping the Knights wouldn’t fall under a familiar spell to last season where the team fell 3-2 to Cass in the first round of the playoffs.

“My biggest concern was just that we came out too aggressive and… not being able to finish the games, [which] we’ve done a lot this season,” Benedetti said. “We should have won [but didn’t] just because we were probably a little overconfident. So I want to make sure everyone came out and took it seriously.”

Their next opponent in the playoffs will be Region 2-AAAAA side Starr’s Mill on Tuesday, April 19. Palmer hopes the big win margin won’t affect the team’s attitude.

“We need to keep a cool head,” Palmer said. “Don’t try and get too cocky about it. Yeah, it’s 8-0 in the state playoffs, but not every game is going to be this easy to play. So I feel like we need to come in every time strong and keep the confidence that we do have.”

Benedetti notices some things the Knights need to shore up going into the second round of the playoffs.

“I think we gotta get back down to the fundamentals,” Benedetti said. “We got to move the ball a little bit better side to side, keep it on the ground and try to possess it better than we did tonight.”

They capped off the big win last night with two more goals from Eldaif in the 48th minute and junior Nicholas Perantoni in the 54th. According to Benedetti, the Knights need to maintain their intensity, which he believes, is the deciding factor in down to the wire games.

“At this point, the difference between teams is going to be small, and sometimes it’s just the guys that want it more and are willing to work,” Benedetti said.

Benedetti is confident the Knights can continue this hot streak and thrive as an underdog.

“I think we can surprise some people,” Benedetti said. “We had a really tough season, a really tough schedule. So, I think we can play against the top teams. We haven’t shown it, but we can play with them. I don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on them, we’ve got some really good opponents coming up. But that’s what you got to do to win the state championship.”