The Franklin County High boys soccer team wrapped up their regular season with a 4-3 win at home over Gadsden County at Senior Night Jan. 24.
The boys ended the regular season with a 9-7 record overall.
“We worked really hard this year to find quality opponents that would prepare us for the post season and Gadsden County is no exception,” said Coach Bill McCullough. “Gadsden County defeated us 9-1 on Jan. 7. To turn around in a couple weeks and defeat a team that mercy ruled you is a great testament to the willingness to work and determination of our young men.
“We are actually getting better at soccer,” he said. “We can be as athletic as we want, as fast and as strong, but soccer skills and game knowledge will always win. This is the area in which we have shown incredible improvement in the last three weeks of our season.
“We are playing our best soccer right now, by a mile. This is the time of year that you want to really hit your stride,” McCullough said.
Honored at Senior Night were Hunter Duval and Austin Staats.
Franklin County ended their season on Jan. 28 in the district semi-finals, losing 4-2 to Rocky Bayou Christian.
Franklin County ends the season posting a 9-8 overall record, the first winning season for the boys soccer program at Franklin County in nine seasons.
“At a broad glance it would be easy to look at a record close to .500 and call it just an OK year,” said McCullough. “What we have to realize is that we did not play an OK schedule. We scheduled opponents that would make us better. Are there two or three games that I would love to have another shot at? Sure, but every coach would say the same.
“We greatly appreciate the contributions our seniors made to our program over the years but we are very excited to be returning all but one starter from this year’s squad,” he said. “That includes a 30-plus goal scorer, one of the best 15-year-old goalkeepers I have ever seen, and some of the most aggressive defensive soccer players in this area of the state.
“We did what we needed to do this year, we got significantly better at soccer,” he said. “Did we do all that we wanted to do? Not by a long shot, but we did greatly improve the state of our program and our hope is that this will encourage a long tradition of soccer from U6 ages and up across Franklin County.
“A lot of our young men are immediately moving onto baseball or track, as well as some girls moving to softball, track or flag football. Our student-athletes are committed to making Franklin County athletics a winning and competitive tradition, not just soccer,” McCullough said. “This cooperation between coaches and varying sporting groups is precisely the goal of our athletic department and a must-have for sustained success at Franklin County.”
Athletic Director Dirk Strunk was equally enthusiastic.
“ Coach McCullough has done a tremendous job with our boys soccer program this year. I don’t think anyone would have thought that our boys team would put together the season that they have. They finished the regular season with the best record in school history,” he said. “Coach McCullough is a great addition to our athletic department here at FCHS. We look forward to having him lead our soccer program for many years to come.”