By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The first Munford Cougar Soccer senior class to be recognized on the new Munford Soccer Field were Parker Delph, Connor Nicks and Danny Roach.
Last Friday the trio took centerfield beside teammates, parents and coaches Louis Hale and Dylan Burnett. Moments later it was time for the seniors to join their much younger teammates in taking on Power Center Academy.
Delph, Nicks and Roach got a proper sendoff on the turf of the new Munford Soccer Field winning 10-0. Next up was the postseason and an elimination game at Dyer County Tuesday.
“The mindset is to get the job done,” Burnett said heading in the District 13-3A Tournament. “It’s been a slow start for us. We have tons of new faces. Seventeen of our 23 guys are either freshmen or sophomores.
“So totally new team from just a skill standpoint,” he continued, “physical standpoint, mindset standpoint. Just everything is brand new. This is a totally different team from what I had last year. We had to start from ground zero.”
In the beginning of the season the young Cougars suffered a few defeats because a lack of goals. Munford’s victory over Power Center improved its record to 6-8-2.
“The first half of the season we had our growing pains,” Burnett recalled. “We had our struggles. We couldn’t find the back of the net. If you looked at our schedule, the last half of the season we’re finally starting to find ourselves and get into good form. We’re finally starting to find the back of the net.”
Freshman Cougar Logan Beidl was the first to find the back of the net against Power Center. Beidl had a pair of goals with junior teammate Nathan Smith assisting on both.
The score became 3-0 when Roach connecting from a pass from Dylan Griffin. Munford went ahead 4-0 when Smith took his turn scoring with the assist from Delph.
Cameron Williams located Smith a few moments later for a goal making the tally 5-0.
Nicks got into the scoring act in his final home game with a blast into the net. Nicks assisted on the seventh goal of the day finding Williams.
Then the goal of the night came off the foot of Dakota Perrigo. The junior lined up a free kick from 40 yards away. The ball curved through the air over the Power Academy goalie’s head to make the score 8-0.
Before halftime the score was 9-0 when Brian Yang find the net with a corner header with the assist coming from Patrick Dern.
Chris Watson scored the final goal of the day in the second half with another assist from Dern.
The victory gave the Cougars a boost heading into the playoffs. During the regular season the Cougar split with the Dyer County Choctaws. Dyer County beat Munford 1-0 in Tipton County.
Later in the year the Cougars traveled to the Choctaws and returned the favor 1-0.
The tiebreaker giving Dyer County the home game was a coin flip.
“I’m very confident in our guys,” Burnett said. “I think we’ll get the job done. And I think we’re peaking at the right time.
“I finally have a few who are starting to taste blood,” he concluded. “They are finding the back of the net. Because every other phase of play we’re dominating teams. As far as defense, keeping possession, we look good in that sense. It’s just the final third and finding the back of the net is where we struggled. So now we’re starting to do that. So this was a good little tune up for us.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.