Senior Boys Recognized in Final Home Game; Tie White River in Season Finale
October 18, 2018
It was a dark and stormy afternoon. Seriously. It was bitter cold. It rained. It hailed. It sleeted. The field was muddy. The ball stuck in the mucky grass whenever it landed. So did some athletes’ shoes!
The occasion was the Wednesday, Oct. 17, boys varsity soccer team’s Senior Game – their final home game of the season – a fiercely-fought contest against VPA Division I North Country. Our Panther seniors, honored in a ceremony preceding the game – Carter Blain, William Bosco, Seth Boyce, William Bugg, Jake Colby, Aiden Cudhea, Tait Linehan, Ethan Steingas – played their hearts out, along with their tireless teammates.
At the half, it was 1-0 North Country, and North Country was playing ferociously, with TA keeper Jake Colby making save after impossible save. By the end of the second half, the Panthers had tied it up on a goal by Tad Darrah, assisted by Dylan Moody-A’Ness, with TA playing ferociously and Jake maintaining an amazing performance in the goal. Close to the end of regulation, the Panthers made what appeared to be the winning goal, only to have it called back on an off-sides call.
At the conclusion of the first overtime period, the two teams both had chances, as darkness descended and rain and cold threatened, but the score remained knotted at 1 goal apiece. Through the first six minutes or so of the second overtime period, both teams had break-away chances and spectacular defensive plays, including an improbable goal-line stand by Jake (who made 15 saves in all) and the Panther defense. However, in the 97th minute, North Country pulled away with a hard-hitting, heartbreaking, head-level shot that few defenders in high school soccer could have stopped.
The game was over, and Thetford Academy fell short 2-1. It was an exceptionally hard fought game by both teams, and the Panther boys played the best soccer of their season, building character, exhibiting superior sportsmanship and teamwork, displaying relentless drive, demonstrating sheer effort in the face of challenge — the lasting effects of the boys’ game of games.
The boys tied White River Valley in South Royalton 1-1 on Saturday, Oct. 20, completing their season 2-11-1. In the 14th minute, junior Ryan Pepe tapped a William Bugg corner kick to Seth Boyce, who steered the ball past the White River keeper, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead. The Wildcats evened up the score in the 58th minute. Both teams had chances during two 10-minute overtime periods, but the game remained tied at the end of 100 minutes of play.
The Panthers will receive their VPA Division III playoff seeding on Monday, Oct. 22.