Most teams would hang their head on a 9-0 loss to end the season.
Not Thomas County Central.
The Jackets’ 2014 campaign concluded on Tuesday with the shutout loss to McInthosh – the No. 1 nationally ranked high school soccer program in the country.
Central, which finished second in 1-AAAAA – two spots higher than the year prior, played McIntosh in the state playoffs last season, and fell in mercy rule fashion with 25 minutes remaining.
Coach Kristy Peeples said that the team’s demeanor this go-around embodied a more confident aura.
“We didn’t necessarily think we were going to win, but we didn’t think we were going to lose either,” she said. “Their coach even came up to my guys after the game and told them how hard they played.”
Central reached the second round with a last-minute, 2-1 win over Windsor Forst on Saturday – its first and only home win of the season.
The Jackets took a 1-0 lead into halftime, then allowed a score on a corner kick that tied the game with just minutes to go in the final period.
Central midfielder Noah Craven netted the game-winning goal with just under 90 seconds remaining to secure the win in dramatic fashion.
The Jackets now head into an offseason headlined by the 13 seniors they’re losing from their 19-man roster.
Peeples, however, remains confident that her club coaching repertoire and Central’s skilled middle schoolers will pool a crop of green, yet talented, team next year.
She also wanted to thank this year’s team for an outstanding season.
“It was a thrill ride,” she said. “I had an absolute blast.”