(Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct a previous error. Matt Jackson was misquoted in the original version. The Standard apologizes for the error.)
When the lines were drawn for Tuesday’s soccer match, Warren County didn’t realize a rugby game would ensue later that night.
Cookeville roughed up the Pioneers, winning 6-0 in a match that didn’t lack physicality.
“I don’t want to play that style of soccer. Maybe that is what it takes to win in high school, but I’m not going to let my players play dirty,” said Warren County coach Matt Jackson. “They fouled us over and over again. The ref did his part, but they’re an extremely physical team that uses their aggression to win games.”
Warren County lost Rob Phillips to a broken nose, caused by an elbow, and two other players on slide tackles during the match. Cookeville had to play the majority of the second half with 10 players due to losing a player following his second hard foul – both earning yellow cards.
Even down a player, Cookeville scored three more times.
“At the end of the day, we lost because they were the better team,” said Jackson. “Since Christmas break, I’ve told our boys I will get them in shape, but they have to put in extra work on their own to be ready. We’ve gotten beaten badly – they may realize they are not in shape and not ready."
Jackson still believes his team can compete with the best teams.
“Hopefully we can put it together and get better as the season progresses," said Jackson.
The Cavaliers got goals from Drew Caldwell, Spencer Ing, Cayden Wilcox, Blake Burckhard, Connor Smith and Keith Wiley in the victory.
Warren County tried to get back on the right foot last night in Soddy Daisy. Results were unavailable at press time. The Pioneers were supposed to take on Soddy Daisy March 14 at home, but rain forced that match to be moved to Monday, April 15.
The Pioneers will play next on Tuesday, April 2 at Rhea County.