By Thomas Sellers Jr.
CORDOVA — The Munford Cougars were making the plays in an effort to advance to the school’s first Regional championship game.
But the saves of goalie Erik Furseth, the last-second deflection of Troy Moyer before half to prevent a Cordova goal and the aggressive play of the offense wasn’t enough to over the Wolves. The District 14-3A champion Cordova Wolves held on for a 2-1 win on their home field and advance to the Region 7-3A title game.
The best season in the four-year history of the Munford Cougars came to an end. Cougars Head Coach Kyle Selby said the 15-5-2 record by his team doesn’t tell the complete story of how well it played and matured.
“The boys sat here and they’ve never given up in four years,” he said. “And they weren’t going to start now. We’ve done a lot of things this year that we haven’t done in the past. I can honestly tell you when Munford High School stepped on this soccer field today, Munford High School played good, solid soccer.
“We’re not in there for the fouls,” he added. “There are going to be fouls in there, but you saw where everything was going. There is a lot more to soccer than wins and losses. You sit here and watch 21 boys who have heart, integrity and never gave up. They never retaliated. We’ve dealt with this four years. You have kids here who are awesome and that will go out and make a school proud in the real world. They’re going to take this thing to the next level out there too.”
The Cougars fell behind 1-0 in the first 5 minutes of the contest on a Cordova header. Munford spread the field on defense and the Wolves possessed the ball for most of the first 30 minutes.
Then Selby and Assistant Coach Bobby Picchi unleashed the Cougars.
Munford’s strikers started to attack the ball and possess it. The Cougars started to get more shots on goal.
Munford junior Jaylen Hill appeared to have tied the game at 1-1 with less than 8 minutes left in the first half by tapping in a shot over the goalie line. But the official called him offside wiping the point off the board.
Minutes later with the Cougars being more aggressive all over the field, Cordova took advantage kicking a long pass over most of the field. With a large bounce, Furseth stepped forward leaving him out of position.
A Cordova attacker struck the ball toward the net. Out of nowhere Moyer dove in leg first and kicked the ball out of bounds saving the goal. The Wolves led 1-0 at the break.
With their game plan redefined, the Cougars possessed the ball more in the first 30 minutes of the second half. And it paid off with 10 minutes and 30 seconds remaining when Cougar Tucker Thompson connected on a shot to tie the game at 1-1.
But five minutes later the Wolves scored the go-ahead goal. Despite the Cougars having several more shots on goal, Cordova was able to escape with the win and advance to the next round.
The season ended for the Cougars with a school record 15 wins, a Best of the West championship, team-record for goals and the coaching staff reaching their goal of teaching the players how to play the game.
“They’re definitely playing much tougher soccer than Munford has ever played before,” Selby said. “A lot of that has to do with Coach Picchi coming in here teaching me and teaching them. They still got a long way to go. But when we got beat, it wasn’t by technique or stuff like that. It was by physicality, strength and quickness.
“You watch this team right here (Cordova) they’re bigger than we are,” he continued. “They’re faster. They’re more physical than we are. And we set here tonight and held them, held them and held them. The boys tonight didn’t want to set here and go for a tie. They wanted to go for the win. We could have set back here and played defense all night. They definitely know how to play soccer.”
The conclusion of the 2013 season marked the end of an era for the Munford Soccer Program. The Class of 2013 were freshmen when the Cougar program was born. Selby said his seniors Dalton Baker, Francisco Cervantes, Josh Delph, James Dillon, Chance Griner, Zack Kurtzman and Cody Perrigo are the eternal foundation of Munford Soccer.
“I wouldn’t trade those guys for anything,” he concluded. “I’ve got 21 extra kids right here. These seniors I’ve got, I’ll do anything in the world for them. I promise to God I’m going to keep up with them for the next 50 years if I live that long. I guarantee you those eight boys will go out in the world and make me proud. I promise you that.”