boys in soccer uniforms congratulating one another.
The Eagles Celebrate a hard-played victory at home.

Solid Play From Eagle Center Backs Rules The Roost

The chilly air welcomed Eagle fans as they arrived at Twin Oaks fields to support the Niceville boy’s soccer team as they went head-to-head with Booker T. Washington.

Both teams were in the state Final Four last season and possess rosters packed with talent, making this matchup one of the most difficult on the Eagle’s regular season schedule.

Niceville’s Head Coach, Wes Nelson, explained his predictions for the game, noting “that it was going to be a close game… they’re a really, really good team. But I [do] expect that we [will] find a way to win.” Coach Nelson’s prediction proved to be correct as the scoreboard displayed a 1-0 win for the Eagles as the game clock expired.

The First Half Breakthrough

The first half of the game was characterized by a fast and threatening speed of play on the attack by both teams. However, with just 9 minutes remaining before halftime, Niceville’s top goal scorer, Grant Wheeler, put away the first and only goal of the game after taking a powerful shot off an assist from Jake Ticknor. Washington immediately tried to counter with a shot on frame but were denied a goal by a save from Niceville’s goalkeeper Tanner Boxberger, keeping the score at 1-0 for the Eagles as they headed into halftime. 

Holding The Fort

As the teams took the field after halftime, it was evident that Washington was hungry for a game-tying goal. The visiting team came out fast on the attack, with most of the game being played on Niceville’s half of the pitch. Niceville’s defense did a phenomenal job of clearing through-ball attempts by Washington and winning the ball back in nearly every offensive challenge they faced. The Eagle’s back line was under the direction of senior center backs Jeremy Covington and Adrian Pearson. 

Coach Nelson weighed in on the center-back’s performance under such immense pressure, noting, “I think they played really, really well. [they] helped control the back line and…stop [Washington’s] attacks because [Washington was] just sending ball after ball in the air.” As a result of his outstanding shut-out performance against an extremely talented offense, and ultimately securing a 1-0 win for his team, Covington was named Maxprep’s Player of the Game. 

Upcoming Attractions

Next week the Eagle’s soccer team will travel south of Eglin on Monday, December 11, to take on their rivals, the Fort Walton Beach Vikings, before venturing to Gulf Breeze to face the Dolphins for the second time this season in hopes of avenging last month’s 3-3 tie.

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