VERSAILLES – The Frankfort Panthers ended their season with a “rough game,” losing 8-0 against Woodford County at Woodford County Community Stadium Monday night in the 41st District soccer tournament.
FHS coach Sherrill Smith said he felt like his team executed very well for 15 minutes of the game, but that increment wasn’t enough against such a quality Yellow Jacket squad.
“We knew going in that we wanted to play as much of a defensive game as we could,” Smith said. “They scored the first goal early. We played 15 to 17 minutes of really good soccer. We felt if we could go into halftime at 1-0, we would feel good. But we went into halftime 3-0.”
Woodford County (15-3-2) scored its first goal only three minutes into the match. On the right side of the field, junior Daniel Christian passed a perfect ball to junior Clay Little who sent it in for the 1-0 lead for the Yellow Jackets.
Sophomore Bailey Spade occupied the goal for FHS, while senior Dylan Spencer recorded the shutout for the Yellow Jackets.
Woodford continued to keep constant pressure in Panther territory, putting Spade to work saving multiple attempted goals. But with 17:20 left in the first half, the Yellow Jacket offense gathered in front of the goal box.
A score by junior Michael Ethington, with an assist by sophomore Zach Blaydes gave the Yellow Jackets a 2-0 lead.
Late in the first half Woodford junior Isaac Hayes assisted senior Jacob Phillips for the Yellow Jackets’ third score. Phillips’ shot hit the left post and deflected into the net.
The Panther offense was held scoreless in the first half due in part to the fact senior forward James Murphy was used as a defender and kept back to aid Spade. Murphy recently added his 100th career goal against Grant County last Thursday night.
Although Murphy made key headers and saves, his position on offense was greatly missed. In the first half, WCHS had more than 200 passes compared to the Panthers, who passed the ball less than 50 times.
In the second half, Little connected the ball with the back of the net to make the game 4-0 with 35:44 on the clock. Blaydes earned the assist. It was Little’s second goal of the night and Blaydes’ second assist.
Only six minutes later, Little added his third goal of the night. Senior George Cole gave the junior the assist for the 5-0 lead over the Panthers.
Little ended the night with four goals, scoring his last with 25 minutes left in the game with an assist from junior Peder Koppang. The Yellow Jackets also added two final scores from Hayes and junior Ian Williams for an 8-0 final over FHS.
After the game, Smith said injuries greatly affected this season, including the loss of senior Taylor Lile, who tore his medial collateral ligament (MCL).
“We would have loved to have Taylor Lile tonight,” he said. “If we would have had Taylor going in, I thought he could have made a real difference in the defensive mode we were in.”
FHS ends its season with a 7-15 record and says goodbye to seven seniors that Smith says will be greatly missed.
“These seven seniors that we have are wonderful kids from great families,” Smith said. “We have achieved a lot. We have traveled abroad to the United Kingdom. We have had a lot of fun things we’ve done. You’ve got to take the positives.”