The North Lamar boys faced off against crosstown rival Paris on Monday night in a game that was previously scheduled for last Friday. Still stinging from their first loss in nine matches, the Panthers were not going to have an easy tasking with the tenth-ranked Wildcats. After opening the preseason with three losses, Paris has only lost one game since, and came into the match with a district-leading 2-0 record.
Paris opened the scoring early in the match and held a 1-0 lead until Chance Kent made a goal with 12:06 left in the first half. Paris broke the tie two minutes later with a goal that gave them 2-1 advantage at half.
The cool, damp weather did not dampen fans’ spirits on either side as spectators on both sides of the field loudly supported their team. There is an opinion that if both teams leave the field mad at the refs then they probably did a good job. They were put to the test as the intensity of the match heated up in the second half. Both teams aggressively pushed the ball, while the respective defenses stood tall for the first 15 minutes of the second half. However, on this night Paris’ potent offense was too much for North Lamar. With just over 20 minutes left in the match Paris scored the third goal, sealing the victory.
While the Panthers were the first team to even score against the vaunted Wildcat defense in weeks, the loss was still a tough one that North Lamar carried into the next night’s matchup against ninth-ranked Princeton. Princeton enter the Tuesday night matchup with an 0-2 record after having gone undefeated through preseason play. Playing on a rainy night with field conditions that were terrible, it was obvious that this Princeton team had something to prove.
The scoring started quickly with the first possession by the North Lamar Panthers being stolen and converted to a quick goal in the first 17 seconds of the match. Princeton would score five more goals in the first half, carrying a 6-0 shutout into halftime.
North Lamar came out in the second half showing marked improvement with ball handling and passing, which has been sub-par in the previous two losses. However, Princeton would not be denied. Maintaining the starting line that played with a high level of intensity throughout the match, Princeton would add three more goals and held a 9-0 advantage as the clock approached 10 minutes. At this point Andrew Exum was fouled in the goal box, setting up a penalty kick. Exum converted the kick, finally putting North Lamar on the board. This brought the score to 9-1, which would be the final.
The loss to Princeton evens up the season series and brings North Lamar to a 1-3 record with two games remaining in the season. Princeton is at 1-2 and tied with Bonham in the standings. Paris leads the district at 4-0 and is guaranteed at least a share of the district championship that will be sealed with one more win or a Princeton loss. North Lamar’s next game is scheduled for this Friday night at home against Bonham, weather permitting. The girls game is at 5:30 and the boys at 7:15. It will be senior night for both North Lamar squads.