Making it an anomaly or statistical certainty, depending on which way you want to look at it, the Warren County Middle School soccer team claimed its fifth conference championship in as many years on Saturday by defeating its arch nemesis Harris Middle, 3-1.
“We beat them 3-0 in the first game of the regular season,” said WCMS head soccer coach Matt Jackson. “I knew that we had gotten better, but didn’t know about them. From the opening kickoff it seemed they were playing harder because we had an easy first game and we were not ready to play fast. That’s the bad side to an easy game. We were not working hard to get back and defend when we lost the ball, content to let the defenders take care of the problem.”
Harris struck first, won the ball and played it up to their forward who then played it back to a midfielder who took a great shot from about 30-yards out to get the first goal, 1-0.
“It was the wakeup call we needed,” Jackson said. “Everyone started working harder, and we started playing better.”
Dominique Bettencourt dribbled around a defender and took a great shot to the corner and evened the match 1-1, as both teams threatened offensively and both defenses stood their ground until just before the half when Warren County would strike again finding Kade Simpson on a thru ball so he could use his speed to beat the defense and the goalie, 2-1, at the break.
After the half, the Pioneers won the ball in defense and played it foward to Simpson who dribbled around three defenders on the way to the goal.
“Kade is one of the fastest players I have coached and has really worked on his shot with either foot this year,” said Jackson. “He scored the third and final goal and gave us some breathing room with a two-goal lead for the final 15 minutes.”
The Pioneers only lost one game this season to McCallie, a private boarding school in Chattanooga, which broke Warren County’s unbeaten streak that lasted four and a half years.
“All the boys from seniors at the high school on down have been a part of winning the CTC championship,” Jackson said. “Hopefully we can keep in going next year. Our motto for the year was: ‘forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. We press on toward the goal.’”
The road to the CTC championship went through a semifinal against South. The Pioneers handed South a 10-0 loss during the season, and won 5-0 in the semifinals allowing coach Jackson some much-needed rest for his starters by giving him room to sub before the final with Harris.