It was a fast-paced, energetic-game with a lot of physicality and difference of opinion from the referee’s calls. Highlands came out ready to defend their turf against Polk County over the weekend on Oct. 13 and scored four goals in the first half, but then gave three away in the second. It was still enough to walk away with a victory.
“I think we did pretty well,” said Highlands Dillon Schmitt. “We did much better in the first half, then we slowed down in the second.”
Highlands Drew Chalker said they weren’t playing their best spending the second half on their heels and not stepping up to balls. It was later in the game that tempers started getting heated with both sides getting physical.
“It was definitely a first half-game,” said Chalker. “Yeah, they can get touchy-feely, maybe a little cheap. If that’s the game they want to play then we’ll play it, and we won.”
Fans on both sides were vocal about the penalty calling. Highlands Head Coach Brett Lamb said the calls were inconsistent but he knows Polk County is a good team and playing them helps Highlands improve.
“They’re (Polk County) a really good team,” said Lamb. “They do well and they’re well-coached. We play them this time of year to get the competition to get ready for playoffs.”
Playoffs begin on Nov. 3 but Lamb said it is still up in the air if Highlands makes it in. Highlands plays tonight (Oct. 15) at 6 p.m. in a home-conference game against Cherokee.
“If we go into that (against Cherokee) big headed it’s going to be a long game for us,” said Highlands Destin Gearhart. “We played a good first half against Polk (County), but the second half was pretty rough. We just stopped playing.”
Schmitt agrees with Gearhart that they need to keep level-heads and stick to their game plan.
“I think we’re going to come out ready to play and pull off a win,” said Schmitt. “But, on the other hand, if I think we’re going to win, we usually don’t.”
Editor’s Note: The photo at the top of the article without a caption is Highlands goalie Ethan Tate. The reason the ball is hitting the cross bar is because Tate got a hand on it and tipped it just enough to avoid a tie game.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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