NEWTON — Just when it appeared that McPherson High’s boys soccer team was going to tie with Newton in its season opener on Tuesday, the Railers scored with 31 seconds left in the second overtime to hand the Bullpups a gut-wrenching 2-1 loss.
“This was a really tough loss to take,” MHS coach Chris Adrian said. “The boys gave everything they had and executed the game plan really well only to cruelly lose in the second overtime with 31 seconds left on the clock. What made the defeat even tougher to take was the fact that we battled back after going down a goal and with about 2 minutes left on the clock, Darrius Armstrong hit a beautiful shot bending in only to see it hit the post. The difference from winning or losing was really just a couple inches. It was a loss that we will learn from and use to motivate us this season.”
Connor Williams scored the MHS goal, assisted by Tyler Hoxie. Nathan Lloyd, in his first varsity start, came up with 5 saves in goal.
“Other than the fact that it sucks to lose, I was really encouraged by what I saw in this game,” Adrian said. “All I've heard about for the past few weeks is how are we going to compete without our All-State players from last year. Well, tonight we answered that question and went toe-to-toe with a really good Newton team at their home field. Connor Williams was put into a new position as a center forward and did an amazing job being a target up top using his height to his advantage. Darrius Armstrong is being converted from a center back to forward and worked his tail off and looks like he's going to score loads of goals this season. Rhett Edmonson and Samie Jaime also played a great game and were required to literally cover the entire length of the field.”
One of the concerns going into the season was the Bullpups’ ability to play physical.
“I mentioned earlier in the week that this team was going to physically be tested in this game and I thought we were right there with Newton when it came to winning 50-50 balls,” Adrian said. “It definitely was not a weakness like last year, but we are looking to be better than just matching good teams liken Newton in that area. We want to lead when it comes to hustle plays and winning balls out of the air. We are really going to continue to work on that and I believe that will help give us the extra 31 seconds or two inches needed to finish games off and get over the hump.”
The JV game was a 0-0 tie.
The Bullpups have yet another tough road game on Thursday when they travel to Rose Hill.