Soccer Cats post best record ever
By Amanda Lowrance & Andrew Alexander
The McNairy Central Bobcats received a bye in the first round of the District Tournament after a win at home against Chester County by one goal. The second-round, final game at home was against the South Gibson County Hornets.
After a brief moment honoring seniors Nathan Howell, Christian Shipman and Jonathan Jones, the Bobcats stomped South Gibson 4-0.
“We played a great passing game,” said Nick Cook. “Hopefully we can keep our rhythm in the days to come.”
McNairy held the lead at half-time 2-0. Juan Macias scored one goal and had two assists and Joyner Pollard, Nathan Howell, and Dakota Chandler each scored a goal.
Tyler Henry had one save as the goal keeper that held South Gibson to zero. Christopher Colon had one assist and Josh Court and Issac Cagle both had 17 stops.
Following that game, the McNairy Central High School Boys’ soccer team came up short in the semi-finals of the District 15A-AA Tournament Thursday, falling to Madison Academic by a final of 2-1.
“This is the deepest run the McNairy boys have ever made into the post-season,” said District 15A-AA Coach of the Year Nick Cook. “Only two seasons ago we were 1-13 and the laughing stock of the district.”
The Bobcats dug themselves a bit of a hole in the first half of Thursday’s game, falling behind the Mustangs of Madison Academic 2-0.
In the 35th minute of the game, senior forward Nathan Howell inched the Bobcats back into contention, scoring a goal on the stingy Mustang defense, and making the score 2-1 as the half ended.
Bobcat goalkeeper Christian Shipman kept the game from getting out of hand in the second half of action, deflecting several shots from the pesky Mustang offense that continuously pressured the senior goalkeeper and the Bobcat defense.
McNairy had several opportunities to tie the game up, one coming late in the second half as a streaking Howell sailed a shot over the Mustang goalie and net.
Despite the determined effort of the Bobcats, the Mustang defenders did not allow MCHS to get a clear shot on goal for the majority of the second half, causing McNairy to fall from their program’s pinnacle, losing a toughly fought battle by one goal.
“No one believed in these boys,” said Cook, “but they believed in themselves and no one is laughing anymore.”
Madison had 12 shots on goal while the Bobcats managed only 7.
Shipman was credited with 10 saves on the day.
McNairy Central’s Boys’ soccer season culminated with a loss in district tournament play, but their 10-4 record is the best finish the Bobcats have ever had.
“We won as a team, we lost as a team,” said Cook, “and we will move forward as a team.”
The Bobcats will be an experienced bunch next year but will miss the senior leadership that Howell, Shipman and Jonathon Jones brought to the table for MCHS, as they return 22 players next season.