Warhorses boot top seed from playoffs, but lose

Owen soccer falls in third round to Franklin

Fred McCormick

An improbable run in the state playoffs came to an end for the Owen High boys soccer team when it fell, in the third round, to Franklin 2-0 on Nov. 10.

The number 4 seeded Panthers ousted the number 8 seeded Warhorses, just two days after Owen bounced number 1 seed Forbush from the tournament in East Bend.

The Owen Warhorses after celebrating a win on the road against previously undefeated Forbush.

Owen eliminated number 9 seed Thomasville in a 3-0 contest at Warhorses Stadium on Nov. 5 to open the 64-team, 2-A tournament. The win came in spite of the Warhorses losing their leading scorer, senior Jacob Robinson, to a torn ACL just weeks prior.

Head coach David Fiest credited his team's ability to adjust its offense for its advancing to the second round against Forbush, who defeated number 16 seeded Draughn on Nov. 4.

The top-seeded Forbush Falcons were 24-0-1 heading into the contest against the 13-6-3 Warhorses. Fiest and his team rode two and a quarter hours northeast to East Bend for the game.

"It was a very physical game," Fiest said. "We played on the biggest field we've seen. It was a 120 yards by 70 yards, so it was super-wide, and it was a full-length field."

The Warhorses managed to hold the Falcons scoreless through regulation; the teams entered the overtime shootout tied at 0. With senior James Murray protecting the goal for Owen, the Warhorses outscored Forbush 4-2.

"My thought is always 'Yes!' when we go into shootouts," Murray said, commenting on his mindset entering the shootout against Forbush. "I love shootouts so much."

Fiest was impressed with his team's performance on the road against Forbush, a team he said was the best 2-A opponent Owen faced all season.

"I was really really proud of our boys," he said. "We made a lot of adjustments going against a really good team."

The Warhorses advanced to face Franklin on Nov. 10, a game that was scheduled to be played at the Franklin Panthers' home field but was moved to Waynesville because wildfires in Macon County affected the quality of the air.

Owen and Franklin were tied 0-0 at halftime. Franklin got on the board early in the second half before adding a goal late.

The playoff run is the deepest the Warhorses have made since 2009, Fiest's first year with the team as assistant coach to Tate MacQueen, now coach of Erwin soccer. The Warhorses lost in the third round to Surry Central.