Boys’ soccer falls short

Posted 5/21/24

A difficult, windy weekend at the state tournament saw the Powell Panther boys’ soccer team eliminated early, losing 4-1 to top seed Torrington on Thursday before being shut out 3-0 by Buffalo …

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Boys’ soccer falls short


A difficult, windy weekend at the state tournament saw the Powell Panther boys’ soccer team eliminated early, losing 4-1 to top seed Torrington on Thursday before being shut out 3-0 by Buffalo on Friday.



Starting out the weekend as the No. 4 seed out of the West, the Panthers (8-10) went to battle with the No. 1 seeded Trailblazers (15-3) out of the East.

“We didn’t have the chance to play Torrington during the season and could only really prepare by watching film and identifying their key threats,” coach David Gilliatt said.

Torrington got on the board first after a confusing play. That came after a strong effort down the right wing, and a high shot snuck in over the outstretched hand of Panther keeper Truett Carter. The officials initially ruled it a goal kick before awarding the goal for the Trailblazers.

Despite the goal, the Panthers settled in, competing against one of the top teams in the state the rest of the half and early into the second.

“We planned on sitting lower and countering through our wide players and out-transitioning them,” Gilliatt said. “I thought the team did a good job of stifling Torrington’s offense in the first half and we honestly felt like we could go toe-to-toe with them in the second half only being down 1-0.”

That battle led to a reward for the Panthers, after a strong passing sequence allowed Will Jackson to find Braxton Batt in the box, who slotted it home to make it 1-1 in the 55th minute.

“We had been experimenting with Will higher up the field to give us some more offense and quality passing higher up the field,” Gilliatt said. “Will was instrumental in setting up the goal providing a perfect pass for Braxton to score from.”

Unfortunately the tie did not last long for the underdogs. Just four
minutes later, the Trailblazers drew a penalty in the box, quickly converting it and regaining the lead 2-1.

It only took one minute for the top seed to extend that lead further, as a strong shot from outside the box found the back of the net and made it 3-1.

Torrington put the game to bed late, adding one more with just three minutes left on the clock.

That came in the form of another penalty, which was initially saved by Carter but was scored on the rebound to make the final score 4-1.

“Unfortunately, their No. 7 really turned it up, dribbling into our box and getting two penalties and a goal in open play,” Gilliatt said.



That loss Thursday dropped the Panthers down to the consolation bracket on Friday, matching up the East No. 3 seed Bison (8-10) coming off a 2-1 extra time loss the day before to host Green River.

Blustery conditions throughout the game made it difficult for either team to find significant offense, with goals not coming until the second half.

Buffalo finally got on the board nine minutes into the second, firing one in the back of the net to give the Bison a 1-0 lead.

Ten minutes later the Bison doubled their advantage, adding another to make it 2-0.

The Bison added one more goal late, scoring on a shot just outside the box with 9:30 left to secure the victory 3-0.

“Unfortunately, our injuries really affected our ability to create scoring opportunities in the second half of the season,” Gilliatt said. “If Chance Franks isn’t scoring goals, he’s setting up his teammates to score goals. Not having him on the field was a huge blow to our team but I was really proud of the guys for adapting to a new formation and playing style. We were able to still win crucial games to qualify for state even if the score lines were tighter than we were used to.”



After this season the Panthers will need to replace a few key seniors, with those positions coming in each area of the field from defense to forwards.

“I think it was a tough way for the seniors to end their playing time at Powell High School,” Gilliatt said. “The group they played with as sophomores was very talented and I’m sure they got accustomed to winning most of our games. Winning all the time is really fun and can be a great reward for hard work, but I also think there is a lot to learn from facing adversity at this stage of life and I hope that it makes them more resilient in their futures.”

Despite the loss of key seniors, Gilliatt is hopeful about the future of the Panthers, with the younger athletes showing a desire to work hard to improve.

“We have a lot to work on in the coming year,” Gilliatt said. “We will be losing a lot of our key players but I’m optimistic about the hunger our younger players have shown. I think we will see significant improvement in the offseason from the guys who put in the work and we need it in order to compete.”