By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
EAST RIVER —
They never quit.
Despite falling behind twice by two goals, the Bluefield Beavers never quit as they battled the Pocahontas County Warriors to the final gun, putting forth a strong effort and dropping a 5-4 match on a rainy Saturday afternoon at the East River Soccer Complex.
Playing in a relentless rain the entire match, Pocahontas County got the first two goals of the game as they were aggressive coming off the bus.
Philip Green’s shot from the left hit the far right post and bounded into the net, then later in the half Stephen Simmons booted the ball again off the left post and it bounced into the net to give the Warriors a 2-0 advantage.
Bluefield pushed and with 3:50 to play before the half Zach Springman took the rebound off a corner kick and put it in the back of the net for the Beavers’ first goal. It stood at 2-1 at the break.
The rain came down heavier as play started in the second half.
A slickened ball kicked by Ryan Stamper came loose from Pocahontas County keeper Alex Kennison and Stamper was there to put the rebound across the goal and the game was tied at two, 10 minutes into the second half.
The Beavers took the lead moments later when Springman battled in front of the goal and pushed it across the goal line with 25:45 remaining.
The Warriors charged back getting a goal from Connor Pyles and another on a breakaway by Cary Robertson to make it 4-3. Pocahontas County pushed its lead back to two goals when Garrett McCurdy scored with 8:41 to go.
Resolved to fight, the Beavers stormed back and pulled to within one on a header by Tyler Brooks with 6:59 showing on the clock.
In the final minutes Bluefield pressed but was unable to find the goal and Pocahontas County claimed the one-goal victory.
“We were down 2-0, in bad weather, against a good team, very physical and we could have rolled over with a bunch of ninth graders but we worked very hard, took a 3-2 lead then they scored two more on us. We could have rolled over but we really pressed them the last four minutes. We’re very young, we don’t have the speed yet. I was very, very proud of the effort of our team,” said Bluefield coach Robb Williams.
“I think they were upset they didn’t win. When you lose a game you feel like you can win, that’s the way the players felt, I don’t know if you get confidence from it. As a coach that’s the worst thing, to see your young men disappointed. We’re very young, starting four ninth graders. In the future we’re going to be really tough.”
Pocahontas County coach Curry McCurdy said his team got a little complacent after taking an early lead.
“We scored two goals early and they thought, ‘Well, let’s just play this out, get on the bus and go home.’ They didn’t realize they’ve got a team here with a lot of pride. They’re well-coached, they’re young and they get better every time they go out there and there is no quit in them. They are a class act,” McCurdy said. “Our guys will definitely take a lot from this. On paper we probably are the better team because we’ve got more experience, but I think we learned we had better come out ready to play every day.”
Bluefield is now 5-5 on the season and hosts Independence on Monday. Pocahontas County improves to 6-2-1.