Stinson leads Spartans

On Thursday, the Spartans and the VIkings took the field for the third time this season. This time, however, both were vying for the Class 3 District 4 championship title. Every game against Central’s rival team from Howell seems to draw in a large crowd, these crowds were twice as big and twice as loud, the obvious reason being, that it was the district championship.

During the first half of the game, the defenses from both teams were at their very best, not allowing a goal to be scored. Although both teams came close to scoring, senior Clayton Luley made sure this game was going to be a shutout for the Vikings.

“I knew that I would have to step up my game if we wanted a chance to win and I did just that” said Luley.

As the second half began, the rivalry between crowds began to become clear, with friendly chants back and forth. The classic “we can’t hear you,” or “when I say Howell you say Central.” These chants seemed as though they were the spotlight of the game until 23 minutes and 26 seconds has passed in the second half, sophomore Justin Stinson scored the first and only goal of the night. The team ran onto the field, and the crowds went wild.

“We were excited. It was an emotional game and to take the lead with just under 20 [minutes] left, it felt good. But it immediately went away and on to the thought process of how we wanted to our formation and personnel to change. We still had a lot of time to take off the clock,” said Coach Nick Beckmann.

Now the main focus was certainly the game. Howell crowd continued with their chanting, but were quickly shut out with the classic “scoreboard” chant. In the final minute of the game, the Vikings got an opportunity for a corner, Luley was not going to let them score.

“It felt amazing to punch out that last ball to end it,” Luley said.

When the buzzer sounded the spartans ran onto the field celebrating not only their third win over Howell for the season, but the district champion title. After the celebration was over, both teams were asked to join Mr Jim Layne, head soccer coach of the Fort Zumwalt South Bulldogs for the presentation of the district championship trophy that will proudly be joining last year’s trophy, in the halls of Francis Howell Central.

This was an exciting win for the Spartans, but certainly not the end of the season for the Spartans. The Spartans will be playing their sectional game against Holt on Tuesday at home.

“I don’t look at the district champ thing as the ultimate accomplishment. It is a great feeling to still have our season moving on, but if you’re only striving to be a district champion, I feel we’re setting our goals too low,” Beckmann said. “We were here last year and were fortunate to win in PK’s in the sectional. We lost in the quarterfinals. Our ultimate goal is to get to Kansas City [where the state championships will be played]. Our immediate goal is to get to Wednesday still having a season.”