On Senior night, the North Lamar boys soccer team had something to prove against Bonham Monday night. The nine seniors on the squad would be playing their final home game of their High School career. In addition, the winner of this matchup would secure the number three seed in district 11, while the loser would finish with the fourth spot. As if this wasn’t enough to make this an important game there is one more thing that was weighing on North Lamar. The Panthers rode an eight-game winning streak into Bonham for the first matchup, including an upset victory over Princeton in the district opener. On a cold night in February, the Panthers would lose a shootout to a feisty Bonham team starting a four-game losing streak.
Both teams aggressively pushed the ball from the opening kickoff with each team moving deep into their opponent’s territory, however defense was the theme of the first half. After 27 minutes of back and forth play, North Lamar was finally able to break the scoreless tie when Kris Stephens scored off the rebound of a penalty kick by Andrew Exum. The 1-0 score would stay on the board as the match reached halftime.
From the second half kickoff, it looked like Bonham might even up the score as they pushed the ball forward repeatedly with multiple shots on goal. The Panther defensive performance was nothing less than phenomenal as they pushed back every offensive attack. Nick West was stretched but continued to demonstrate dominant play in goal. The overall defensive effort was the best the Panthers had put forward since their victory at Princeton.
Just when it seemed that defense would rule the night, an offensive explosion began. With 9:08 left on the clock, Kyle Terry launched a beautiful free kick from 35 yards out that sailed over defenders’ heads and the goalies’ outstretched hands to give North Lamar a 2-0 lead. Just 54 seconds later, Stephens would extend the lead with his second goal of the night on a breakaway. Leading 3-0 as the clock ticked down under five minutes it appeared that the Panthers would run out the remaining time. That’s when Hunter Brasher decided to push through defenders and score with 4:39 left in the match. Not wanting to be left out, Chance Kent added a final goal with just 1:30 left in the game. In just seven minutes and thirty-eight seconds the Panthers turned this defensive struggle into a blowout win.
With the 5-0 win, North Lamar (2-4) will be the number three seed heading into the playoffs, while Bonham (1-5) finishes at four. North Lamar will face off against the Wilmer-Hutchins/Sunnyvale winner in the Area finals next week. Coach Aaron Welch was pleased with the win and said the team will now start preparing for the playoffs.