KNOXVILLE, Tenn. | If soccer games were decided in the last 30 minutes, Scott High would have won Thursday's non-district match at Carter going away.
But soccer is an 80-minute game, and while the Highlanders dominated the last 30 minutes, it was Carter who had the upper hand for much of the first 50 minutes, riding that early advantage to a 3-2 victory.
The Hornets, who were playing in the District 3-AA championship game a year ago, jumped out to a 2-0 lead at halftime and tacked on a decisive third goal early in the second half, leading 3-0 before the Highlanders finally found a spark.
That spark was a penalty kick by Connor Stanley after a handball in the box. The goal came with 33:53 to play and, suddenly, the Highlanders were playing with renewed vigor.
“When I get onto them at halftime and they respond, that's great. But I'd rather have a team I don't have to get onto,” Scott High coach Eric Henry said. “These guys are old enough, mature enough and have played enough that they should be able to recognize some of these things.”
Through the first several games of the season, Scott High was fast enough in the back to overcome defensive mistakes. But in Thursday's game, Carter used a decided speed advantage to exploit the Highlanders' defense, which appeared to be caught off-guard. The Hornets broke free behind the defense on several occasions in the first half, two of which led to goals.
“Defensively we have kinda rested on the fact that we're pretty fast,” Henry said. “Tonight we were not the fastest team on the field. Those boys could fly. We talked about being fundamentally sound, stopping possession early, rotating and communicating. If you don't do those things when you're out-gunned, you're going to get down a couple of goals, and that's what happened.”
Elsewhere on the field, the Highlanders struggled to put together a consistent offensive attack in the first half, and struggled to win balls in the middle of the field.
That all changed in the second half, especially after Stanley's goal. The Highlanders controlled possession, dominated shots on goal, and had numerous opportunities to score.
Several near misses resulted, some of which was the result of good plays by Carter's fullbacks and keeper. Finally, with just under nine minutes to play, Hugo Henry scored when his corner kick caromed off a Carter defender and into the goal, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
The Highlanders had opportunities to tie the game in the waning minutes, but it was not to be.
“We had some good touches tonight, but it is what it is,” Henry said. “We gave up a couple of goals early. We'll learn from it and move on.”
Scott 3, Harriman 0
HARRIMAN, Tenn. | A short-handed Scott High team cruised to a 3-0 win over Harriman here Monday (March 20).
The Highlanders got on the board 12 minutes into the game, when Toby Garrett scored off an assist by Aidan Roberts. Later in the first half, Leivance Weatherford scored to make it 2-0.
The second half saw Roberts score off an assist by Conner Miller about halfway through, setting the final score at 3-0.
While the game was not high-scoring, it was never in doubt. The Highlanders, who were playing without both their wings up front (Hugo Henry and Skye Babb), dominated possession and Harriman never had a serious opportunity to score.