The King’s Warriors had a very busy stretch from late August to early September, including several firsts. The team had their first practice on the grass field across from The Nehemiah Group’s headquarters in Forest Hill on Thursday, Sept. 22. They then practiced on Monday, Sept. 26, at Ballard Christian School. Ballard’s administration wants to offer soccer for their students, and invited the King’s Warriors to help with this new opportunity. The team will practice at Ballard on Mondays.
Still struggling with numbers, the King’s Warriors suffered an undesirable “first” on Tuesday, August 27. Playing with only 6 high schoolers and 9 players total, the Warriors fell to Mercer Christian Academy’s full 11 man side for the first time in 5 years. MCA had a strong team, including 8 seniors, and jumped on the Warriors early in the first half, running up a 4-0 deficit by half time. The King’s Warriors regrouped and played a very strong second half, giving up no more goals and making several good offensive forays. Chance Blevins even struck the left post, but couldn’t quite get one in, and the score stood at 4-0. The Warriors look forward to the rematch on Sept. 30.
The King’s Warriors got back in the win column on Thursday, August 29, thanks to the help of five additional home schooled players. Even with two key players missing due to illness and work obligations, the Warriors fielded a full team and had one sub. Greater Beckley Christian School fielded a very young team, but was still very competitive. B.J. Mitchell blew through the King’s Warriors defense to give Greater Beckley an early 1-0 lead. While the King’s Warriors dictated the flow of the game, it took a while before Caleb Okes found the back of the net to tie it up 1-1. Mitchell’s speed beat the defense again for another brief 2-1 lead. Jackson Yates then went to work from his center midfield position. After tying the match with a long range blast, he gave the Warriors a 3-2 half time lead that they never relinquished.
The second half was all King’s Warriors. Yates picked up where he left off by completing his hat trick to go up 4-2. Striker Chance Blevins then got in on the scoring, adding two more goals. Ailena Bezek finished the scoring with the best goal of the night, a one touch, full volley off a cross from Jackson Yates, for a final score of 7-2.
The King’s Warriors then resumed their Labor Day tradition after a year off, taking the field against Appalachian Bible College in their season opener. The game is a King’s Warriors reunion, bringing to together former and current King’s Warriors players. ABC took a 1-0 lead, but Juan Calix-Herrera tied it early in the second half. ABC again jumped ahead with a 2-1 lead, but Brayan Calix-Herrera tied it with only three minutes left. A brief lapse of concentration cost the King’s Warriors dearly when an ABC player broke his way through the defense to claim a 3-2 win with only 1:40 left to play. The King’s Warriors played very well against the bigger, faster, more physical college team, and were very unfortunate not to claim the tie or even a win.
On Saturday, Sept. 7, the King’s Warriors hosted their first home game of the season when Greater Beckley Christian School came to Hilldale Community Park. The Warriors controlled most of the match, though B.J. Mitchell burned the defense to give the Crusaders their lone goal of the game. Leading 7-1 athalf time, Warrior’s striker Chance Blevins, who had already bagged a hat trick, switched teams to play up top alongside Mitchell. The speedy duo greatly challenged the talented Warriors defense, but backs Andrew Smith, Caleb Okes, and Ian Bailey, along with goalkeeper Jack Spurgin were able to keep them scoreless in the second half. The King’s Warriors added two more goals in the second half for a final score of 9-1. Along with Blevins, Aaron Smith bagged his first hat trick; Caleb Okes contributed a brace; and Eli Blevins rounded out the scoring with a goal off a corner kick.
The Warriors next travel to Barbourville to take on the undefeated and powerhouse Grace Christian School on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 11:00AM.