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Battling the intense summer heat as well as some of the best competition around, the Grant County High School junior varsity soccer Braves brought home second place at the Frankfort Invitational Tournament held last weekend.
Grant County started the tournament in fine fashion with a 2-0 win over Somerset before falling in the championship game 2-1 against the host team.
Grant County High School Head Coach Garrett Griffith spoke highly of the Braves’ performance, pointing to the heat as a deciding factor in the title game. The heat index was at a level where the match was in danger of not even being played.
Compounding the problem was the fact that Grant County had only 17 players on its junior varsity squad while Frankfort had over 20.
“I think in the last 10 minutes or so, you could tell the guys’ legs kinda just gave out on them,” said Griffith. “They were really tired.
And where Frankfort had more players than we did, they were still going strong in those final minutes.
“But the guys really played well,” Griffith said. “We hit the post two times and those could have very easily been goals. So we had our chances.”
Nathan Yaeger scored Grant County’s lone goal just barely two minutes into the contest, but Frankfort answered back and tied the game a short time later before taking the lead with 10 minutes left in the match.
In the opening round, Grant County was a 2-0 winner over the Somerset Briar Jumpers. Cesar Barajas scored on an assist from Bo Cobb, while teammate Cody Trenkamp put the ball into the net on a penalty kick for the Braves.
Goalies Yaeger and Jose Barajas combined for nine saves in the complete-game shutout.
The JV Braves, who now have a record of 2-1-1, are a skilled bunch and one that Griffith says he believes has an opportunity to be special over the next few seasons.
“We’re always impressed with these guys,” said Griffith, who serves as the JV team’s assistant alongside head coach Logan Barnett. “These guys understand the game really well. They play really hard.
And they do really well at possessing the ball.
“If these guys keep improving, we’ve got a chance to be really, really good over the next two or three years.”
Members of the Junior Varsity squad includes sophomores Cesar Barajas, Kaleb Willoughby and Brandon Wolfe. Freshmen include Gabe Stillwell, Bo Cobb, True Williams, Nathan Yaeger, Ethan Howe, Stuart Smith, Nick Neal and Matthew Barnett.
Middle schoolers on the team are Cameron Beach, Hunter Dalton, Cameron Smith, Austin Creech, Cody Trenkamp, Conner Williams and Jose Barajas.