ROMNEY - Playing on the road against a much-improved Hampshire Trojan squad, in front of a larger than normal crowd on Youth Soccer Night, without the services of last year's area leading scorer Briar Cessna, with multiple players playing out of position, and trailing 2-0 just 27 seconds into the second half.
By Chapin Jewell
ROMNEY - Playing on the road against a much-improved Hampshire Trojan squad, in front of a larger than normal crowd on Youth Soccer Night, without the services of last year’s area leading scorer Briar Cessna, with multiple players playing out of position, and trailing 2-0 just 27 seconds into the second half.
That was the scene facing Frankfort shortly after second-half play began at Sunrise Summit Tuesday night. It’s safe to say the Falcons found themselves with their backs against the ropes. While their play was hard and admirable in the first half, the Falcons struggled to get the ball into the back of the net.
Enter the hero, senior captain Kenny Sibley.
“We had to make a tactical decision with Briar (Cessna) not being fit. We had to bring Chris (Kenney) out of goal in the first half to give us some offense, and he did. Then of course he ran out of gas, which we knew he would, and we switched him back into the goal where he made a couple of good saves,” Frankfort coach Patrick Brett explained.
Where does Kenny Sibley fit into the equation? According to Coach Brett, “We pushed Kenny (Sibley) up front and he came through for us; Kenny got two goals and got us a draw. He saved us, he absolutely saved us. He’s a fullback, and we pushed him up front and he came through for us. You can see now, he can hardly walk, that’s how much he left on the field, every ounce of his strength.”
According to Sibley, a senior captain and leader, in his eyes, he was just “taking care of business.”
There was a bit of back and forth action in the first half. Even with the significant changes made to the lineup, Frankfort managed to generate a few opportunities to counter the offensive chances generated by the homestanding Trojans. From the beginning whistle, it was a true back and forth, tit for tat contest.
Ultimately, assisted by Andrew Strawn, it would be Hampshire’s Collin Hott who ended the gridlock, putting the Trojans on the board first with a late goal in the first half. The two teams entered halftime with Hampshire’s 1-0 lead secured.
As play began in the second half, Frankfort was still comfortably in reach of the Trojans, trailing by only a goal. Twenty-seven seconds into second half play, however, things got uncomfortable really quick, as Hampshire’s Andrew Strawn hit pay dirt to put the Trojans up 2-0. After a mere few blinks of the eyes, suddenly Frankfort now found themselves in a bit of a hole.
“2-0 down you can quit, but they didn’t; they came back and gave everything,” Coach Brett explained. What Brett is describing is the overall team effort, complete with Kenny Sibley’s outstanding two-goal, second half performance that dug Frankfort out of the hole to earn the 2-2 draw on the road.
“I think that both teams left everything on the field. Nobody could have given any more than they gave. It was a to and fro game; I think a draw was a fair result,” a pleased Coach Brett said after the contest.
Watching as they fought through adversity, Coach Brett learned one very important thing about his Frankfort squad, “I learned that my boys will give everything for the team.”
For his part, Hampshire head coach Shawn Healy was pleased with the effort given by his Trojans, “We fought hard; we came out fast and got the early momentum; we were possessing the ball really well, we just couldn’t finish. Both teams fought hard.”
With Hampshire competing in the AAA ranks, and Frankfort competing in the AA classification, neither team will have to advance through the other come playoff time. Nonetheless, the rivalry between the two, as neighbors, is traditionally very strong. There will, however, be one more opportunity for the teams to break through this deadlock. On Sept. 19, at 6 p.m., the two teams will meet again, this time in Short Gap.
The draw brings both Hampshire and Frankfort’s records to 0-1-1 on the young season. Hampshire visits Keyser (0-1) tonight at 7 p.m. Frankfort plays host tonight at 6 p.m. to Berkeley Springs.
For both teams, no doubt they’ll welcome the opportunity to take another crack at one another, with that September 19 rematch likely circled on the calendar. Will it be another back and forth affair, another tie, or will one team grab the upper hand? Perhaps we’ll be blessed with a repeat performance of this gem, with a winner next time.