BOONE COUNTY — The 2021 soccer season continues, with Boone County’s three teams juggling the tasks of facing off against their opponents and facing off against the still-looming threat of COVID-19.
The Scott High Skyhawks boys’ team (0-1-2) played Sissonville (1-1-1) at home last week, following a loss to Point Pleasant (3-0) three days prior. Scott opened up the match early on at 35:06 with a goal from freshman Tristin Thompson from a tap-in off a cross. Junior Isaac Setser recorded the assist for the goal. Another cross nine minutes later would see the two of them switch roles, with Thompson assisting Setser as the latter hit the back of the net and put Scott up 2-0.
The second half remained scoreless for most of its time, until the Skyhawks let in their first goal against at 10:18. The Indians’ Jaxson Haynes scored a header on a corner assisted by fellow senior Carson Boggs, 2-1. Scott’s defense did not quite reach the end of the match after that set piece, as Haynes received an assist to go with his goal by feeding the ball over to Zerihun Biram. The senior found the back of the net to tie the score, which remained 2-2 to give Sissonville a comeback for their record.
Scott’s assistant coach, Rodney Miller, talked about the continuing issue of the team’s low numbers.
“This anomaly has created a greater importance on conditioning, athlete nutrition, weather, and ability to practice,” says Miller.
The delta variant of COVID-19 has reached students going back to school, and coaches have had to work within the parameters of necessary protocol. Miller says he expects the team to develop more over the fall into a group that can contend for tournaments. This expectation is helped by the work ethic that the newer boys have picked up, as well as important skills they are honing. The Skyhawks have grown to be respected in West Virginia over years of learning and growth, something Miller and Head Coach Zach Boyd have facilitated.
Isaac Setser and Tristin Thompson each netted 1 goal and provided 1 assist to lead the Skyhawks. For Sissonville, Zerihun Biram and Jaxson Haynes each scored 1 goal to lead their team. Haynes, along with Carson Boggs, also had 1 assist. Scott’s goalkeeper, senior Malachi Lacy, faced 9 shots on goal with 6 saves. Sissonville’s GK, senior Brock Stricklin, reached 10 saves over 12 SOG.
The Scott Lady Skyhawks (0-2), likewise, faced Sissonville’s girls’ team (3-0) last week. The girls have been looking for their first win, and the Lady Indians were a formidable opponent to take on. The team failed to score against the visiting side, losing 9-0 in the end.
The Lady Hawks’ head coach, Woody Hunter, knew that Sissonville were going to play hard, with a roster of more experienced players who contend each year.
“They’re pretty wicked up front,” says Hunter, “and with all the new girls I’ve got, they’re not ready for that type of skill and speed.”
Playing against foes as strong as the Lady Indians, however, will give the team a glimpse into who they can expect to challenge in big matches when they develop into a winning team.
Scott’s girls, after this match, had to switch tactics off the field. New injuries, as well as a positive COVID-19 test, forced Hunter to have to reschedule matches and shift practices to vaccinated players only. While he was worried about the possibility of canceling the match against Point Pleasant on Sept. 7, Hunter is firm in stating that the health and safety of his and other schools’ student athletes is his first priority. Handling the rebuild and the chaotic pandemic is a constant struggle, but it’s a battle Scott’s coach is willing to fight.
“It takes a toll, this being my second year,” Hunter said. “Across the board, there’s other teams throughout the state that have got low numbers because the parents and kids are afraid to come out and go anywhere from eight to ten different schools through the season.”
Meanwhile in Seth, Sherman High’s Lady Tide (0-3) took on the Lady Wildcats (1-0) in Logan on Aug. 26. Sherman have also been looking for their first win with the young team they field. Logan High, however, took a 15-0 victory over the maroon-and-gold side.
When asked about her approach to keeping the team on track while they grow, Sherman coach Angie Lilly noted that taking it one match at a time is key to committing to the effort to build up Sherman soccer.
“Every game starts with a score of 0-0, and the last game is in the past,” Lilly says. The team’s inexperience is a hurdle, but the coach says the girls nevertheless are working hard and pressing onward in 2021.