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Crusaders crush ACCS playoff hopes

By Bill Barksdale

NATCHEZ — The Park Place Christian Academy Crusaders boys soccer crushed ACCS Rebels playoffs hopes with a 3-1 victory on Monday.

Thirty seconds was all it took the Crusaders to score their first goal, executing a practiced offensive play from a throw-in. When Park Place repeated the tactic and scored two more goals in the next 20 minutes, the Rebels watched as their playoff hopes crumbled.

Park Place’s head coach Tom Cosgrave, in his fourth season with the Crusaders, gave credit to his team who stuck to the game plan.

“We had a strategy going in, and they implemented it exactly the way we practiced,” Cosgrave said. “Credit to the boys who got the victory they deserve.”

Park Place scored three points in twenty minutes by executing a set play on offensive throw-ins within fifty yards of the goal.

“We have several of our guys who can throw fifty yards or more. When we get within range on a throw-in, we throw it directly toward the goal, and we run the big boys up into the box to cause a nuisance,” said Cosgrave.

All three goals Park Place scored were off throw-ins. Cosgrave said after the throw-ins, the Crusaders won the first two touches and the ball bounced into the goal.

Adams County’s senior Yohan Thompson said he believed his team came into the match over-confident.

“After (Park Place) scored those three goals so quickly, we could not mentally recover,” said Thompson.

Thompson acknowledged that when Park Place flooded the box with their tall defenders on a throw-in, it knocked the Rebels off balance.

“Their tallest defender would stand in front of our goalkeeper and not many teams do that,” Thompson said. “Credit to them because we did not expect it.”

ACCS junior Nolan Owens agreed with Thompson about the Crusaders scoring on set throw-in plays.

“We’ve never encountered a team that has tried that throw-in play against us, so we weren’t prepared for that; but smart move on their part and respect to them,” Owens said.

Owens had six shots on goal, but once the Crusaders were up by three, Owens said the Crusaders put more people on defense.

“That made it hard to shoot or even make a clean pass because there were so many protecting the goal,” Owens said.

Many of the Park Place defenders played football in the fall, Thompson confirmed.

“So they are solid, fast, quick, and strong.  They would steal from us because they knew how to read the ball, get to it quickly, take the proper angle and clear it out,” Thompson said. “We haven’t seen such a skilled and athletic defense all year.”

Park Place committed two fouls inside the box and awarded ACCS two penalty kicks.  But AC failed to score on either PK, overshooting the first and losing the second to a save by the Crusaders goalkeeper, Jack Potratz.  Potratz had ten saves on the night.

“Park Place was quick, had great foot skill, and really good passes and touches. They were clearly better than us in those regards,” said Thompson.

Thirty seconds before the final whistle, after Park Place had pulled five starters, Thompson scored for the Rebels.