Friday, November 6, 2009

Hickman wins boys soccer district championship

Hickman wins boys soccer district championship
Thursday, November 5, 2009 10:10 p.m. CST

BY Tony Markovich
Kewpies forward Colin Janicek celebrates his goal against Jefferson City during the second half of the Class 3 District 9 championship game Thursday at Hickman High School. ¦ PATRICK T. FALLON / MISSOURIAN ___________________________________________________
COLUMBIA — After being handed the plaque for the Class 3, District 9 Boys Soccer Championship on Thursday night, the Kewpies hoisted their coach Adam Taylor on their shoulders and into the air as they yelled and screamed in celebration of their 2-0 victory over second-seeded Jefferson City.

The last time Hickman won a district title was in 2001. Back then, Taylor was still a student at Hickman and the starting forward for the soccer team. Taylor said the feeling was completely different on Thursday.

“Wow, I never ever thought I would be at this point,” Taylor said. “This feeling almost trumps it. This is a great feeling doing it for 18 other people. It's just different when you can motivate them and go out and beat two district rivals in three nights. I’m kind of at a loss for words.”

Taylor said he almost felt like a parent watching his players.

“It’s the best feeling in the world, whenever you are able to watch other kids succeed,” Taylor said. That’s what I do it for, the kids. And whenever you can watch them succeed and see them play at a high level, it’s amazing.”

Before the game, Taylor told his players what it was like to win a district title.

“Yeah, he brought that up the other day,” senior forward George Plakorus said. “He wanted us to take his record from him and prove that we could do it. He was pushing us a lot because he wanted us to do just as good as he did when he was here. His goal from the beginning was for us to win districts, and now we have.”

After losing to Rock Bridge 2-1 and Jefferson City 1-0 during the regular season, the fourth-seeded Kewpies needed to make some changes in order to beat both teams in the postseason.

“Instead of dribbling all the time, we settled down and really came into our own,” junior forward Colin Janicek said. “The players got along so much better after the midpoint of the season. It took a lot to get going, but once we got our passes going and started finishing, we put it in the back of the net.”

“It’s good revenge obviously, Plakorus said. “We had our chances against Rock Bridge and Jeff City and we just couldn’t finish before. That’s what we’ve been working on the past two to three weeks and it all came together when it needed to.”

In addition to the improvements to the offense, the defense has held up strong, notching three straight shutouts in the tournament. Taylor said he noticed the progression of the defense over the second half of the season.

“The defensive line played outstanding this evening,” Taylor said. “They were like a rock back there … When I started coaching, I was confident in our attack, but I was sorta spotty on our defense at times. Now, the defense has raised their level so much, that I can’t say either side of the ball has an advantage anymore.”

To further fuel his team’s fire, Taylor brought up last year’s district tournament to the team.

“I used the media release from last year that said ‘Kewpies lose to Jefferson City,’” Taylor said. “I showed them the actual article last night and I said to them, ‘Do you want to be this team, or do you want to be the team that makes their own headline?’ I think they really responded from that.”

The game went scoreless throughout the first half and much of the second half, but Hickman broke through with a goal with 13 minutes left in the game.

Plakorus, who originally thought the ball was out, cut back and played the ball right across the middle to a streaking Janicek to put the Kewpies up 1-0.

“I thought Kirt (Harris) was going to get a touch on it, but it went through, and I was like ‘That’s mine’ and just put it in,” Janicek said. “It was great.”

Taylor said he was was relieved to see the Kewpies strike first.

“I preached that to them at practice. We’ve got to score first,” Taylor said. I was hoping it would come in the first half. I asked for them to be ahead at half so we could move on from there, but I guess that’ll work. A goal is a goal, and I’m glad we got it first.”

With four minutes remaining, Plakorus fought off leg cramps, outran the Jefferson City defenders, and slipped the ball past the Jays’ goalie to put the Kewpies up 2-0.

The Kewpies advance to a sectional game on Tuesday in Jefferson City. They will face the winner of Thursday's late District 10 title game between Camdenton and Rolla.

“At this point, you just gotta stay mentally tough, and we are actually getting more mentally sharp by the day it seems like,” Taylor said

The Hickman soccer team celebrates their victory over Jefferson City in the Class 3 District 9 championship game .

Hickman soccer coach Adam Taylor congratulates his team as they celebrate their victory over Jefferson City. The last time the Kewpies won the championship, Taylor was a player on the team.

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Driving Directions

  • WAYNESVILLE : Take 63 South Towards Jeff City. Take US-54 W thru Osage Beach to Camdenton. Take MO Hwy 5 South to Lebanon , MO.Continue on MO Hwy 5 South to I-44 E towards Waynesville, MO. Take Exit 156, toward WAYNESVILLE/FORT LEONARD WOOD. Turn LEFT onto HIGHWAY H/I-44-BL/MO-H. Continue to follow I-44-BL.Turn RIGHT onto MO-17/W I-44-BL.1001 HISTORIC 66 W.
  • QUINCY TOURNAMENT IN QUINCY ILLINOIS: From Columbia Take 70 West to Kingdom City. Take 54 North to Mexico and then 54 east and north (54/19) to Laddonia. From Laddonia take 19 North to New London and then 61 North to Hannibal. When you get to Hannibal, you will need to take a right at the sign that says Quincy or to Illinois or to Springfield which is hwy 72 across the river. You will then pick up Highway 172 north to Quincy. In Quincy take the Broadway exit and go left.The fields we are playing on are located on State Street. The streets in Quincy that run West to East are numbered streets. The Mississippi River is to the West and the street numbers get higher the further East you go. When you enter from highway 172 the first street you will see is 48th street. Go left. At State St turn right and the park is a few blocks on the right. The Paul Dennis Complex is located on State between 36th and 48th street.
  • JEFFERSON CITY- 179 SOCCER PARK: Take 63 to Jeff City. Across the river take Hwy 50 toward Sedalia. Take the hwy 179 exit and turn right onto 179. The soccer park is about 3 miles on your left.
  • DESMET High school from CBC High school (about 3 miles): leave CBC and turn left (east) onto N Forty Dr. Turn right onto Conway Rd. Follow Conway Rd to left at S New Ballas Rd and it is about 1.2 miles to the high school at 233 N. New Ballas Rd.
  • CBC High school in St Louis: about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Take I-70 east to US40E/US61S just past Wentzville. Head toward Chesterfield/Forrest Park. About 23 miles to Mason Rd exit. Take S Mason Rd north back over the highway. Turn right on N. Forty Dr and the high school is on your left about a mile at 1850 De la Salle Dr.
  • CAMDENTON: Hwy 54 out of Jeff City to Hwy 5 in Camdenton. Turn left (east) on to Hwy 5. Continue on Hwy 5 for 5 or 6 blocks and can see the school campus on your left (north side of road). Turn on to Dare Blvd and the stadium is a block or two behind the schools.
  • SMITHTON TOURNAMENT: I-70 west to Booneville. Exit on Hwy 5 south. From Hwy 5 take Hwy 50 west. Go to Hwy W and turn south. Follow Hwy W into Smithton. Turn east on to E. Washington St. (I think this is a continuation of Hwy W), Turn right (south) on to Myrtle Ave and the school is 550 Myrtle Ave. Games are at the school.
  • ROLLA: Hwy 63 out of Jefferson City. Continue on Hwy 63 into Rolla. Turn left (east) on to 10th St. Continue on 10th St about 8 blocks to N. Cedar St. High School is at corner of N. Cedar and 10th St. Soccer field is behind the high school.