On an emotional Tuesday night, former Waynesville Coach Mike Gow returned to Anderson Field with his Camdenton Lakers on a fitting evening as the Tigers celebrated senior night. Coach Gow, who was part of the Waynesville boys program from 2008 to 2015, coached several of the seniors recognized this evening. Joey Cartwright, Cameron Wibur, Alex Rodriguez, and Gunnar Coonrod expressed many found memories of Coach Gow and all the free spelling lessons they received doing pushups during practices! While he may now wear purple, he will always remain part of the family.
From the opening whistle the Waynesville Tigers took the game to the Lakers. They set a fast pace of play and had their best game of ball control of the season. Sticking to the game plan the boys, took care of the ball by control of midfield and attacking through the flanks. Very quickly the Tigers created scoring opportunities from crosses and corner kicks into the 18 yard box. As Camdenton tried to adjust to shutting down the outside attack, the middle of the pitch became porous allowing the first goal of the evening at the ten minute mark. senior co-captain Daniel Sesay connected with senior co-captain Bryan Moose through the middle of the defense, where he side stepped a defender and beat the keeper with a confident strike just inside the 18 yard box. The goal sent a charge through the large crowd on hand, encouraging the Tigers to keep the game tilted in their favor.
The night seemed to be truly all about the seniors as they struck again five minutes later with a goal from Sesay, assisted by Angel Longoria, putting the tigers up by two. The pace of the game never waivered as the Tigers kept the ball in the attacking half of the field, and continued to create quality scoring opportunities. Longoria, playing his best game of the season, contributed to the score line when he headed in a goal on a perfect corner kick from Moose twenty minutes into the first half. Not to be left out Senior Joey Cartwright, after receiving a pass from Longoria, launched a shot from long range that just beat an outstretched keeper putting the Tigers up 4-0. Cartwright and Longoria lead the team through the middle of the field. They dropped behind the ball on defense to help regain control of the ball and quickly pushed the attack forward. Senior Brandon Burkett and Alex Rodriguez continued to demonstrate the powers of a dynamic duo, keeping their defensive line well organized and quickly dealing with Camdenton's dangerous counters.
With just under 6 minutes remaining sophomore Garrett Long took the focus off the seniors for a brief moment. Long calmly received a pass by Daniel Sesay through the middle of the defense, took a touch left and shot the ball into the neat past a charging keeper. The Tigers went into half time with a commanding 5-0 lead and the excitement of the fans who were thoroughly enjoying the match.
Coming out of half-time the focus was on maintaining control and avoiding injury knowing the Lakers were frustrated with their 1st half performance. The Tigers continued their strong play in the early minutes of the second half. Utilizing the flanks more often in the second half putting senior Cameron Wilbur into regular action on the left flank. He was able to creating quality deliveries and shots throughout the remainder of the half. Forwards Sesay and Long, continued their excellent play up top, finding each other on through balls and taking quality shots. As the Lakers frustration built into the second half the game became more physical. Both sides began responding with hard tackles as the referee worked to maintain order by issuing 5 yellow cards (2 to the Lakers, 3 to the Tigers) and 1 red to the Tigers after a collision with the Laker goalie. Most of the bookings occurred in the final 10 minutes as both teams refused to back off and assert control over the game. The match ended with a 5-0 Tiger victory and the 4th win of the young season.
The team wants to recognize the Waynesville Cheer Leaders for coming out to support the team, and our military partners in education from the 58th Transportation battalion commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Western and Command Sergeant Major Johnson. The Tigers were also honored to have the color guard from the 84th Chemical Battalion commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Galbraith and Command Sergeant Major Franco. The troops in the stands made for an amazing atmosphere at tonight's game. The awesome fan support contributed to the spirit of the competition and inspired the players on the pitch. The seniors want to thank the fans for making the night special, and let their parents know how much they love them for all they do.