Middle school boys down rival Dawson in season opener

  • LCMS striker Nicholas Esqueda gets around a Dawson County defender to get inside the box in Lumpkin’s 2020 season opener last week. Esqueda scored three second half goals to help lead the Indians to a 4-0 victory.
    LCMS striker Nicholas Esqueda gets around a Dawson County defender to get inside the box in Lumpkin’s 2020 season opener last week. Esqueda scored three second half goals to help lead the Indians to a 4-0 victory.
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Rainy weather postponed the start of the 2020 middle school soccer season, but when the LCMS boys soccer team stepped onto the pitch at the LCMS stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 19, to finally play their first match of the year the Indians proved they were more than ready for a successful season when they handed their neighboring rival Dawson County a 4-0 loss.
“The kids were ready to get on the field and play another team instead of scrimmaging each other,” said LCMS head boys soccer coach Radford Windham. “Many practices were spent in the gym because of the weather. It’s nice to get the season started.”
The Indians displayed poise, patience and tremendous flow in the first half of the match versus the Dawson County Tigers. Lumpkin passed with precision and purpose, creating several dangerous scoring opportunities for the Indians.
However, when the halftime whistle sounded both team were deadlocked at 0-0.
The scoring drought didn’t last long for Lumpkin, as the team found the net four times in the second half. Instead of runs fizzling out or shots going wide, the Indians played a much more controlled second half which allowed for the team’s strikers to have plenty of space and time to blast shots on goal.
Team captain Nicholas Esqueda recorded a hat trick and Marcus Remillard added a goal of his own to account for the team’s second half offensive explosion.
The Indians’ defensive backline made up of Will Staples, Wyatt Windham, Anthony Ramirez and Nate Gilleland with support from Daniel Radford and Jake Porter refused to allow the Tigers any meaningful attempts throughout the match and helped Lumpkin’s goalkeeper record a clean sheet.
“We had to completely rebuild our defense this year because our entire starting defense last year were eighth graders,” Windham said. “However, I feel with our players and our new formation we are running in the defense that we’ll be better than last year. We are fortunate to have two outstanding goalies this year in Rafi Hernandez and Brauner Boegner.”
From how the Indians shut down the Tigers throughout the match, it appears that Windham may be right about his defense.
Depth appears to be the biggest strength for Lumpkin this season, with the team having a plethora of talented players ready to go at a moment’s notice.
“I feel like we have an all-around strong team this year,” Windham said. “And, our depth is also strong this year with a group of experience players ready to take the field at a moment’s notice. These players will be exciting to watch.”
Windham and his team, who lost last season’s championship match in heartbreaking fashion, hope to find inspiration and redemption in the agonizing defeat this season.
“Last year we lost the championship with 30 seconds left on the clock,” Windham said. “The team, this year, is using that as inspiration to finish strong, go back to the championship and win. Anything less than that would be disappointing.”
The 4-0 victory over rival Dawson County was a step in the right direction towards the team achieving its goals and was also cause for celebration on the Indians’ sidelines.
“It’s always great to win, especially against Dawson County,” Windham said. “I told the players before the game how much it means to current players and Lumpkin County alumni to always beat the Tigers. Those are the games you will never forget.”
The LCMS boys soccer team will get back on the pitch when they host the Fannin County Rebels at the Burial Grounds at Cottrell Field at LCHS tomorrow, Feb. 27. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.