It came down to the wire, but when both Highlands and Blue Ridge were tied at the end of full and stoppage time, it went to a shootout. Each team had six chances, Highlands lost 4-5.
“It was typical Highlands/Blue Ridge,” said Head Coach Brett Lamb. “Both teams played their hearts out.”
Highlands lead the scoreboard in the beginning of the first half, but Blue Ridge answered with two goals before halftime. Going into the second half, the field was getting slick but both teams adjusted to the conditions well. Highlands eventually tied the game up 2-2, but after stoppage time ended the game remained tied. On to the shootout.
Each team took six shots, Blue Ridge missed their third shot, Highlands missed their first and last shots. It was a tough loss to swallow for the Highlanders because the two teams are crosstown rivals, even more so for senior Hunter Collins who used to attend Blue Ridge School.
“In all honesty we did a great job and played our hearts out,” said Collins. “It was a heck of a game. We couldn’t have played better and we wanted to win.”
Senior Drew Chalker said they need to come out stronger in the beginning of games.
“We’re a second half team,” said Chalker. “We need to work on finishing the ball in the first half instead of the second, get up from the beginning.”
He added that playing Blue Ridge is always a good challenge.
“Oh it’s always going to be physical and lots of talking,” said Chalker. “It’s a great rivalry.”
Junior Jonathan Miller agreed with Chalker that they just could not pull it together to seal the win.
“We couldn’t finish,” said Miller. “Tonight we couldn’t get any shots off and we got really unlucky on those two goals. But it was a tough fight.”
Carson Talbert said there is a rivalry with Blue Ridge, but it’s become less of an issue for the players over several seasons.
“I’d say it’s a love/hate relationship, but it’s been getting tamer over the years since we became friends,” said Talbert.
Highlands plays at home against Swain on Sept. 17. Talbert said Swain can be an on-and-off team so he doesn’t know which they will see. But he said there’s a lot of work to do before then.
“The thing we need to work on most is connecting when someone’s in a scoring position,” he said.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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