“All the credit goes to the kids for coming out and working their rears off,” Nichols said after Trigg extended its record to 6-0-3. “Everyone was talking about how we had lost so much and should be down this year, but the kids didn’t get that message. A lot of kids have stepped up this year.”
Kquan McNease put the Blazers on the board first at 8:53 of the first half on a breakaway chance that Trigg goalkeeper Kevin Latham had little chance of stopping. After that play, Latham’s play helped keep the Wildcats in a position to strike back.
“He gets better every time he takes the field,” Nichols said. “There wasn’t much he could do about that goal. He tried to cut the angle off, but the kid made a heck of a shot. They played a lot of high balls into the box and Kevin was solid all night.”
Down 1-0 at halftime, Trigg got to work quickly in the second half.
“We got out-hustled and out-worked in the first half. I told them that at halftime, and the accepted the challenge, came out and took it to them,” Nichols said.
After getting the ball past UHA’s midfield, Jared Stallons dribbled through the box and found Devon Wharton wide open, and he sent the ball past the right side of UHA goalkeeper Lynn Adams, tying the game less than five minutes into the second half. It was Stallons’ team-leading fourth assist and Wharton’s third goal of the year.
The Blazers appeared to retake the lead at 54:42, but the goal was waved off due to an offsides call. Another UHA chance failed five minutes later when a shot by Austin Byrum was deflected away by Trigg defender Zach Adams, who was backing up Latham on the play.
With about 16 minutes left to go, Trigg freshman Blaine Alexander took possession in a crowd of UHA defenders, somehow dribbled through and converted a breakaway chance to give the ‘Cats a 2-1 lead. Alexander leads Trigg in goals with eight.
“I’ve got to imagine he’s on every scouting report, and if he’s not, he will be once coaches start talking,” Nichols said of Alexander. “I’ve never seen a freshman like him. The bigger the game, the better he plays. He’s a rock in midfield for us.”
Nichols said he’s still waiting to see his team play 80 solid minutes against a quality opponent, but he said they’re getting closer.
“Up until the last week or so, it was 25 good minutes,” Nichols said. “We’re a team that I thought would get better as the year went on, and that’s proved true. We hit a skid a couple weeks ago, but the kids rebounded and rededicated themselves.”
The Wildcats’ solid play against 2nd Region competition puts a bull’s eye on their back for the rest of the year, something Nichols said is a positive thing.
“That’s where we want to be,” Nichols said. “We want to be the team everyone’s looking up at.”
Thursday’s win came two days after a 2-0 victory at St. Mary.
The Wildcats and Vikings were tied at halftime, but Alexander gave Trigg a 1-0 lead early in the second half on an assist by Jeremy Butts. Aaron Yielding added an insurance tally on a free kick later in the half.
Trigg’s junior varsity team lost 4-3 but continued their trend of improved play.
“They look like a completely different team than they did a couple of weeks ago,” Nichols said.
Trigg’s goals were scored by Romaine Cunningham, Caleb McIntosh and Clark Adams.
The Wildcats played Tuesday at Dawson Springs (results unavailable at press time) before games Thursday against Caldwell County, Saturday at UHA, Monday at Lyon County and next Tuesday at Hopkinsville.