Thursday night the soccer field was surrounded by fans not only from Warren County and Rhea County, but also with players and coaches from other district teams for the district championship.
The Pioneers lost 4-0 to Rhea County, and the Pioneers will play on the road Tuesday night in the region tournament against Ooltewah at the Owls home field.
WCHS head coach Matt Jackson was not pleased with losing, yet he was glad his team gets to play another game in the region tournament. Jackson felt his team had not fully recovered from a tough Tuesday night game against Soddy Daisy. His Pioneer team caught an intense Rhea County team which had knocked off Cookeville in the district tournament two days earlier.
Jackson said, “They just came fired up tonight. We weren’t ready to play that quick. They are a good team. We just couldn’t get the ball to bounce our way. They played great tonight. They had multiple subs coming in and good depth. We didn’t have many subs to come in and provide a spark tonight. We needed a spark and couldn’t find a spark.”
It was the largest crowd of the season, and there were fans on a roof top to view the game. Rhea County always has a vocal crowd in any sport, and their fans lived up to their reputation Thursday night.
Ironically, Warren County was hosting Rhea County in a soccer match while the Lady Pioneer softball team was at Rhea County playing White County in their district tournament. The Lady Pioneers lost on Wednesday night to Rhea County, which made losing to Rhea County two nights in a row most unpleasant.
Warren County fans may think the Pioneers simply blew the opportunity to win the district championship on their home field, but there were two major factors to consider. One was the injuries Rhea County had recently overcome. Their head coach explained how his team has gotten healthy recently.
Rhea County’s head coach Justin Smith said, “We were not healthy the last few weeks of the season, and we were looking forward to getting some players back and playing the way we know that we could. We were pretty confident coming into the tournament. We may have surprised ourselves a little bit with how well we are playing, but we will take it. We are excited.”
The other factor that impacted Warren County was fatigue. Maybe it was a combination of mental and physical fatigue. Warren County had a tough match Tuesday night, and had not fully recovered from that match in two days.
Give Rhea County credit. The Eagles clearly had more energy on the field and in the stands Thursday night. Warren County will have a few days to regroup and prepare for the trip to Ooltewah, which won its district championship match Thursday night.
After the match, All-District players were announced. All-District players from Warren County are:
Marvin Franco, Carter Smith and Jordan Ramirez
Joan Garcia and Jahier Martinez