By Grant Stevens - Sports Editor
Sept. 26, 2012 — Thursday evening, Head Coach Max Hammond and the West Carter Comets (10-6-2) grabbed something any upstart program seeks to attain, a signature win.
After East Carter (7-3-2) took game one of the Carter County matchup, 5-1, less than two weeks ago, the Comets responded in round two, breaking a 1-1 tie at halftime to grab the 3-1 victory to move up the 16th Region totem pole.
It took all of 10 minutes for the Comets to put up the game’s first points when Justin Ratliff capitalized on a free kick opportunity to give West the 1-0 advantage.
Frenetic and physical play ensued over the rest of the first half until the Raiders picked up the equalizer on a goal by midfielder Evan Huddle, making for a 1-1 tie headed into the break.
Hammond said his team’s energy in the first half helped to fuel his team in the second.
“First half, we did a really good job going after loose balls,” Hammond said. “We really came out with a lot of energy tonight, and I think that made the difference headed into the second.”
The tie did not last long, as Ratliff once again found the back of the net for his second goal on the way to a hat trick, assisted by Trevor P’Simer.
Unable to score for the final 30 minutes of play, East Carter fell victim to another Ratliff goal at the 75th minute when P’Simer once again found Ratliff, this time on a break away down the middle of the field, sealing the program’s first victory in the cross-county rivalry.
West Carter keeper Alex Mays kept East Carter out of the nets for the final 50 minutes.
Hammond, a former Raider soccer player, said his team’s win was a significant moment in the West Carter program’s history.
“It’s the biggest win of this programs’ history, bar none,” Hammond said. “It’s a huge rivalry for us, and this win means so much to us on so many levels. They took the first one, but I would rather win the second because it really gives us momentum headed down the stretch here.”
Following the win, the Comets lost to Russell Monday night, while the Raiders took on Boyd County Tuesday night after press time.
Be sure to pick up next week’s Journal-Times for more East and West Carter soccer coverage.
Grant Stevens can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.