By Spencer Spilman
In the final game of the season, the Hays Rebels gave it their best but came up short in the Rebels’ seniors’ last high school soccer game Friday night.
Hays battled back from an early deficit but it couldn’t overcome a second deficit as it fell to the visiting Akins Eagles 2-1.
Akins dominated the possession of the game and had multiple opportunities to score throughout the game.
The Eagles got chances on goal early and often. Within the first 20 seconds of the game, the Rebels made a mistake and almost gave Akins an early goal.
They continued to fire shots on goal; Akins eventually capitalized in the 16th minute as Pedro Galindo scored a beautiful goal into the upper 90 in the top corner of the net.
Hays bounced back quickly with some pressure of its own. Jax Kell made a good run and was fouled inside the box, giving the Rebels a penalty kick. Senior Nick Perry confidently stepped up and put the ball into the back of the net to tie the game at one.
Early in the second half, Hays fouled an Akins player in the box, which gave them a penalty kick of their own. The Eagles, like the Rebels, made the penalty kick look easy as Sergio Ruvalacaba put the ball in the net to give them a 2-1 lead.
The Rebels had just two shots on goal to Akins’ ten. However, Hays did put pressure on the Eagles late in the game as the physicality began to pick up. Several times it looked like Hays might get the much-needed equalizer but it just couldn’t put the ball on the goal.
The seniors battled all game, knowing that they wouldn’t have another game. In the end it just wasn’t enough and Akins held on to win despite the late Rebels push.
Rebel captain Ricky Stuart was a little emotional following the loss.
“I just told them that this was our last game of the season and let’s just play our hearts out and give our all to try and win this game,” he said.
Head coach Jason Barnett left the coaching duties to senior Nick Thies on senior night. Thies said the team needed no motivation on senior night and said he was really going to miss his teammates and best friends that played their last game Friday night.
Barnett talked about his senior class and what it meant to him.
“They are just good kids,” Barnet said. “They are the kind of kids you just want to hang out with and I’m going to miss all of them.”