JV Panthers bested by cross-town rival


Katie Linkner

Starr’s Mill JV soccer player looks to play the ball during the team’s last meeting with McIntosh of this JV season. The JV boys lost 5-0 to their local rivals.

Kyle Soto, Staff Writer

Last Thursday, Starr’s Mill hosted McIntosh in a JV doubleheader. The Panthers, coached by Aaron Buck and captained by junior Jake Paupe and sophomore Christian Castillo, fell to McIntosh in a shocking and unexpected 5-0 loss.

[W]e have to make sure that mentally all of our decisions go the right way and it just didn’t happen today.

— head coach Aaron Buck

“To play a team that talented, you need to play a complete game,” Buck said. “We have to make sure we maintain possession, we have to make sure we’re tight in the back, and we have to make sure that mentally all of our decisions go the right way and it just didn’t happen today.”

The Panthers began the local rivalry match strong, although there were no clear cut chances for a goal. McIntosh began pushing back and with nearly ten minutes left in the first half, a wide McIntosh player swung the ball into the penalty area where a Chief striker’s shot sailed just wide and over the goal. Just over a minute later, sophomore Andrew Alvarez fouled a McIntosh player right outside the Mill’s penalty area, resulting in a dangerously close but wide free kick.

Sophomore Marco Chapman was the Mill’s most threatening player on the attack and was especially bright in the first half. Chapman oftentimes carried the attack through the midfield while beating players one on one and connecting with other midfielder and wide players.

“We came out here to eat,” Chapman said. “We did it for the fans [in the] first half, but [in the] second half we slowed up.”

The pressure on the Panthers continued mounting, and that became dangerously clear when a McIntosh midfielder threaded a through ball between the Panther defense straight into the path of the McIntosh left winger. The winger then crossed the ball into the penalty area where the ball fumbled between defenders and attackers right before it was toe poked wide of the goal post. None of these chances resulted in goals, but they did show fans what to expect in the second half.

Right from the whistle to begin the second half, McIntosh looked dangerous on the attack. The only difference in the second half was the goals scored.

Merely 40 seconds in, McIntosh went ahead off a through ball played in behind the defense which freshman Luke May knocked past junior goalkeeper Aident Fenwick for an easy finish.

Minutes later with 30:45 left on the clock, 8th grader Jackson Johnson scored another goal off a cross. McIntosh showed no signs of slowing down and forced Castillo to make a decisive tackle just seven minutes into the second half.

The Panther defense continued to crumble. Nine minutes into the second half, Starr’s Mill junior defender Andrew Williams was caught out of position pushing up into the midfield, allowing a McIntosh midfielder to play an easy pass through the back four to junior Harrison Soles for the third goal of the night.

The misery for the Mill continued when McIntosh added another goal to the tally by smashing the ball into the top right corner in the 20th minute of the second half before adding a fifth goal with five minutes left on the clock from a freekick right outside the Mill’s penalty area.

Despite the large scoreline in favor of McIntosh, the game could have been even more lopsided if not for Castillo who was the defense’s rock. Castillo captained the team to a stellar first half and dismantled numerous McIntosh attacks. Regardless, the shift between the halves was insurmountable.

“It was a mental loss,” Castillo said. “Every year we’re mentally weaker than them.”

The team played Whitewater on Monday in a 3-3 tie. The JV girls’ team fell to McIntosh 2-0 and then played Whitewater to a 1-1 tie.

Both teams look to end the season with a win at East Coweta this Thursday.