Including this year’s Frankfort High School boys soccer team, only two public schools have ever reached the All “A” Classic state tournament championship game in the event’s history.

Two is also the number of goals Kentucky Country Day — a team that has been ranked in the top 20 nationally — had allowed in 15 games this season before meeting the Panthers in the final match on Sunday.

In front of a hometown crowd and large student section at Sower Soccer Complex, the Panthers, which were leading 1-0 at halftime, fell to the undefeated Bearcats 2-1.

“I’m really proud of our effort, our energy, our fight, unfortunately we just came up a little bit short today,” FHS coach Brad Kennedy told The State Journal. “I think we were up to the challenge. We played for the full 80 minutes like I asked them to do and just came up a little short.”

To put this team’s accomplishment into perspective, the Panthers (16-3-1) played three games — six 40-minute halves — against quality opponents in roughly 24 hours. In that time span, FHS scored a total of 10 goals — beating Owensboro Catholic 6-2 in the first round and shutting out Bishop Brossart 3-0 in the semifinals before being beaten by Kentucky Country Day 2-1 in the championship match.

Four Frankfort players — Colby Cracraft, McLain Barber, Preston Barber and Ethan Vermillion — were named to the all-tournament team. But what most sticks out to us isn’t individual accolades, but the Panthers’ team-first mentality.

We are proud of how this team has represented our community and believe they have nothing to hang their heads about. In fact, there is still plenty of soccer to be played and we have an inkling this tough FHS team has the potential to go deep into the postseason.

We will continue to cheer for the Panthers’ success and we encourage all Franklin Countians — regardless of high school affiliation — to do the same.

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