MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

May 7, 2014

Jenks ends Roughers’ season

JENKS – The Muskogee Roughers hung in for the better part of a half, but in the end succumbed to the more experienced Jenks Trojans 5-1 in the opening round of the Class 6A soccer playoffs Tuesday night at Hunter Dwelley Stadium. The loss ends a successful season for Muskogee that saw them go 7-4 on the year and land a playoff spot for the first time in three years.

Despite constant first half pressure from the Trojans, Muskogee played tough defense and kept Jenks off the scoreboard until Ryan Cass corralled a loose ball in the goal box and put it in for a 1-0 lead with just under 10 minutes to play. But when the Trojans scored again just before halftime, it seemed to deflate what intensity the Roughers still had according to Muskogee coach Shawn Riley.

“We got down 2-0 and then went into what seems to be a typical Muskogee attitude at times of just giving up,” said Riley. “These Jenks guys have such an experience advantage since they all play club soccer and until we can get our guys experience at that kind of level, it’s always going to be a struggle to break in to this top tier of teams.”

With the wind at their backs in the second half, the No. 3 Trojans (12-2) continued to dominate on the offensive end scoring three more goals until Roughers’ senior David Esposito got free down the left sideline and dribbled in for a shot and goal with just over nine minutes to play. He’s one of 10 seniors who played their last game for the Roughers and was obviously disappointed when it was over.

“We hoped we could score quick and put them on their heels, but it just didn’t work out,” said Esposito. “It was a good season and it was nice to make the playoffs again, but they were just the better team tonight.”

Riley is optimistic about the future for the Roughers’ program, but knows it will take hard work to keep the momentum going.

“This year’s success is just a nice story if we don’t do what’s needed in the off season to fill the holes and get more kids out for the program” said Riley. “We’ve got a pretty good nucleus of players back including starters Chase Soper and our goalkeeper Jose Villeda. We’ve got lot of freshmen and sophomores returning and now they know what’s it’s like to make the playoffs and what it will take to beat these more experienced teams in the future.”

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