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On Saturday, Sept. 22, the Hawks became the 2012 champions of the Barren County Trojan Classic soccer tournament by defeating the host team, 2-0.
The clash of the titans of the tournament was just that ... a clash. The two teams battled for possession and advantage for 28 minutes.
Senior defensive specialist Marshall Metcalf positioned himself to intercept a Trojan pass. Two touches and he delivered a sharp pass to senior Rico Collado. Collado eluded two defenders and delivered a strong direct pass to senior Alex Cook.
Cook took one touch and blasted a shot to the corner of the net. Successful teamwork resulted in another successful tally goal for the Hawks.
Sophomore goalkeeper Holden Blair handled the ball only a dozen times with six saves as the remarkable defense pressured and contained the Trojans all night.
Senior Austin Puryear, Brock James, junior Catfish Hurt and junior Kyle DeVary fought, scratched, bounced, repelled and recovered from any serious attack. These warriors allowed only one goal throughout the tournament.
As tensions mounted, discussions became heated and frustration set in as the Trojans watched the stadium clock wound down. With three minutes remaining, the knockout was delivered when Metcalf lofted the ball over the defense and Cook raced to the ball and knocked it in.
Tears of joy and jubilation erupted when the final whistle blew. The Hawks were gracious and showed their class when congratulating the host team after the match. Celebratory hoots and applauding fans could be heard throughout Glasgow.
The championship trophy belonged to the Hawks.
For their efforts, the Hawks received the trophy and presented it Monday to LaRue County High School Principal Paul Mullins.
Blair received the “Best Goalkeeper” plaque. Cook received the “Most Valuable Player” and “Golden Boot” awards for scoring the most goals in the tournament for the second straight year.
Cook, Metcalf, Collado, Puryear and Hurt were selected to the all-tournament team.
It was a cool crisp evening during the last few days of summer that the LaRue
County Hawks faced the Wildcats of Franklin-Simpson. This initial meeting of these two teams came in the first round of the Barren County Trojan Classic Soccer Tournament.
The Hawks prevailed, 2-1, on a last minute goal. It was an instant classic match.
Cook continued his torrid streak with his ninth multi-goal match of the season. His first goal came as a result of a free kick at the 25-yard mark. Cook bent the ball like Beckham around the defensive wall into the back of the net.
The match intensified as neither team took advantage of opportunities.
Blair recorded six saves and four collections. The defense of Puryear, James, Hurt and Devary punished any forward attacker into their area. The defense held for 70 minutes before yielding a single goal.
This Hawk team never quit and settled down. Refusing to go home empty-handed, the Hawks peppered the goal mouth with several opportunities. With 30 seconds remaining in the match, the Hawks were awarded a corner kick.
Metcalf placed the ball inside the corner arc. His left foot lofted the ball high towards the goal. Cook outlept the entire defense and headed the ball past the keeper.
Playing without four starters against a team celebrating senior night with 10 seniors, the outcome looked bleak for the LaRue County Hawks. However, the Hawks vowed to prevail and did, 2-1, against the Cougars of Grayson County.
At practice, Coach Derek Bell worked on possession play and on passing with a purpose. At the beginning of the match, the team leaders requested the players to believe in the players on the field, not off the field. In other words, let’s play like a team, not like individuals.
And play like a team they did. The two teams battled back and forth during the first half. There were few scoring opportunities and the result was a 0-0 draw.
During halftime, the coaches talked and the team listened. Emphasis was on continued team play and on confidence in their abilities, belief in their goals – above all else, not to be satisfied with their performance.
After the half, renewed vigor was evident in the Hawk play. Unfortunately, a Cougar player was tangled up with the shoestrings of a Hawk defender ... in the box. Thus, a penalty kick. In high school, this is almost a certain score.
Blair somehow came up with the block and denied the score. Confidence was building and gaining momentum.
Eight minutes later, junior Curtis Milby launched a long throw in to Collado.
Collado took the ball from the right hash mark and delivered a bullet to the left corner of the net from 20 yards away. Nine minutes lapsed and Collado returned the effort by feeding a charging Metcalf 18 yards in front of the goal. Metcalf made one touch and knocked the ball past a diving keeper to the right corner of the net.
Team play was evident by the solid performance of the defense led by Hurt, DeVary and junior Casey Brooks and sophomores Trevor Cecil and Cole Meredith.
Hurt’s head and DeVary’s presence on the field complemented the surprising all-around play of the first-time starting trio of Brooks, Cecil and Meredith. Along with his breath-taking stop of the penalty kick, Blair recorded six saves. But, none more important than his diving save at the 77-minute mark to preserve the victory.
Senior night did not turn out well for the Cougars. A proud, hustling Hawk team made sure of that.
The senior Hawks will be honored Oct. 1 during fall break. The JV match is 6 p.m. with varsity beginning at about 7:30 p.m.