Cedar Shoals varsity boys fight back to tie 3-3 in Classic City Championship

On Feb. 10, a warm Saturday afternoon, the Cedar Shoals boys varsity soccer team honored former teacher Stephen Castile by placing flowers at midfield before their rivalry game against Clarke Central. 

“Some things are bigger than soccer. Today, we were playing to honor the memory of Mr. Castile. What was by far the most special moment of the day was having his son, Matteo, who was a former soccer team captain, attend the game and join our huddle, where the players dedicated their performance to him and the Castile family,” varsity boys head coach Conor Naughton said. 

Wearing black armbands in Castile’s memory, the Jags mustered a two-goal comeback, finishing the game 3-3 after a two-goal deficit. This most recent Classic City Championship is the Jags’ first time not losing in a decade. Despite the team tying, Naughton is still proud of their perseverance against the Gladiators. 

“I’m incredibly proud of the boys for this outcome. We battled back from a two goal half-time deficit against a great team. Not once did a single player, on the field or on the bench, ever drop their heads or give up hope. It exemplifies the bond that we have on this team,” Naughton said.

The game opened with Central’s midfielder, Lucas Stewart, scoring off of a free kick. The free kick was given after Cedar goalkeeper Jose Lopes picked up the ball outside of the goalkeeper’s box. 

The Jags responded with nine minutes left in the first half, when senior attacker Cesar Andrade-Ruiz scored with the help of sophomore midfielder Ever Barrera to equalize the game. Central then took the lead with a penalty kick and another free kick, taking the score from 1-1 to 3-1 before the half. 

Late in the second half, junior attacker Damon Davis was awarded a penalty kick after being fouled by Central goalkeeper Wyatt Meyer in the box. Meyer received a red card and left the game for the Gladiators. 

“The turning point of the game was definitely when we were given a penalty and an opposing player got a red card. Once we scored that goal to cut the lead to 3-2, we had plenty of time to play and were now a man up. We knew we would be able to keep applying pressure,” Naughton said. 

With just under three minutes left in the game, the Jags were awarded a free kick after being fouled by Central. Senior Luis Martinez took the opportunity to put the ball deep into Central’s box. A Gladiator defender headed the ball straight in the air, allowing Wilbert Pena to bump it into the goal. This last blow concluded the game with a 3-3 tie. 

The team’s next game is a Friday road matchup on Feb 16. against North Hall. After only completing 50% of their passes, down from 68% their previous game, the Jags look to improve heading into the new week.  

“I’m proud of how my brothers fought for one another (against Central), and a big shout out to the younger group, they played a phenomenal game,” Martinez said. “For our next game though, we want to work on different tactics before we start region play against North Hall.”

Katie Kulik

Freshman Katie Kulik is a new staff writer for Cedar BluePrints. After high school she wants to become involved in ministry and eventually become a youth pastor. She is currently involved in softball, swimming and tennis. Kulik’s favorite thing about journalism is being able to express herself.

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