The Wildcats (3-0-3, 2-0-1 in 4th District) ended the Panthers’ 2008 season with an 8-0 victory in the district tournament.
Dawson Springs finished last year with a record of 1-17, but the Panthers had already doubled that win total after the first two games of the 2009 campaign and currently have a record of 3-4, including a 1-0 victory over district foe Lyon County.
“I was extremely worried coming in that it would be just like this,” Trigg head coach Josh Nichols said of the down-to-the-wire match against Dawson. “We just haven’t played well or practiced well at all lately. Coming out of the Caldwell game, we should have been riding a high. Instead, we’ve hit a skid, and we’ve got to shake it off.”
Trigg was two weeks removed from a 4-4 tie at district rival Caldwell County, which topped Dawson Springs 6-1 the night after the stalemate with the ‘Cats.
The Panthers scored both of their goals after pushing deep into Trigg’s zone and crossing the ball to the opposite side, where Wildcat defenders failed to mark Dayton Reed at 15:59 and 69:15.
Reed’s first goal tied the score after Jared Stallons had put Trigg ahead at 4:15 on an assist by Joel Ben Thomas.
The Wildcats had a few chances to take the lead midway through the second quarter. Junior Devon Wharton got free on a run with about 30 minutes left in the game, but his shot hit the cross bar, and he sent one just over the bar 30 seconds later.
Wharton got another chance with about 12 minutes left and capitalized, netting his first goal of the season and giving Trigg a brief 2-1 lead. A Dawson Springs defender had a chance to get the ball out of the goal box on the play but failed, and the ball went directly to a wide-open Wharton.
Reed scored his second goal just over a minute later, but the Wildcats turned another Panther defensive mistake into a score with less than 10 minutes to go. Dawson Springs sent a goal kick short, and Stallons booted the ball from about 25 yards out into the top-left corner of the net.
“We were lucky, there’s no doubt about that,” Nichols said of Trigg’s final two goals. “Maybe we were due for some luck. We’ll certainly take it, but at the same time, we can’t sit around and rely on other teams to make mistakes. Not to put Dawson down, but when we play better teams, we won’t get those breaks.”
Trigg played without freshman midfielder Blaine Alexander, who missed the contest after receiving a red card in last Monday’s 3-3 tie at Todd County Central. Alexander is currently second in scoring for the Wildcats with five goals.
Nichols said Trigg’s defense needs to return to the form it displayed a few weeks ago.
“We were playing tight with tough teams, but our defense has been disappointing,” Nichols said. “It was a bright spot early in the season, but it’s something we’ve got to get back to.”
Trigg has the chance to reap benefits from a nine-day break from matches. The ‘Cats took most of the Labor Day weekend off from practice heading into their next match Saturday afternoon at Reidland. They’ll then play Tuesday at St. Mary.
“This break is hitting us at the right time,” Nichols said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to take the field in the few days after Dawson Springs. We’ll get some things sorted out so we can play better. We’re capable and we’ve seen that. We’ve just got to play better.”