CONCORD — The Watauga boys’ soccer team had plenty of chances to reach the next level of the state 3-A soccer playoffs. The problem was the Pioneers could not convert those chances into points.
Watauga fell 2-0 to Concord in the fourth round of the state playoffs, but have nobody but themselves to blame. Watauga coach Josh Honeycutt felt that despite a small and muddy field, the Pioneers outplayed Concord.
But the Pioneers had three shots hit the crossbar and one of the goal posts of the Concord goal. Honeycutt said Watauga’s yearlong strategy was working well, but the Pioneers could not put the ball in the back of the Concord net.
“We did the same thing,” Honeycutt said. “We dominate play. We dominated the second half and we finally adjusted to their field, which was very small and very narrow and did not have a lot of grass. We came out a little slow and a little sloppy.”
Watauga’s season ended with an 18-6-1 record. The Pioneers took a 12-match winning streak into the game. Concord improved to 25-1-2.
“We made a good run at it,” Honeycutt said. “I can’t be disappointed because I’m super proud of the guys for what they were able to accomplish together and gel. We started a winning streak and continued that. However, we were all very heartbroken knowing that it should have been us advancing. We were the better team and it showed on the field. It just didn’t show on the scoreboard.”
Concord scored its first goal toward the end of the first half when the ball deflected off a Watauga player and into the Pioneers’ goal. The Spiders scored again with 10 minutes left in the game.
Honeycutt moved defender Colter Conway from the back of the field and moved him to the offensive side to give the Pioneers another attacker, but the Spiders shortly scored on a counter attack to give Concord a 2-0 lead.
“We dominated possession,” Honeycutt said. “The ball barely got out of their half on the field. It was just one of those nights when the better team doesn’t win.”
Watauga had its chances to score some goals, but could not finish. Owen Combs had one shot hit the goal post and had a header hit the crossbar. Combs also had a free kick that hit the post, and Conway had a shot that was saved by the Spider’s keeper that looked like it was going to go in.
“We had our chances,” Honeycutt said. “For whatever reason, (the goal) had a lid on it.”