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Seniors lead McCracken, rout St. Mary

By Mike Stunson mstunson@paducahsun.com

A McCracken County boys soccer team with 10 seniors showed Monday night just how much experience can pay off.

The Mustangs had seven goals from their seniors, including three from Austin Collins, as they scored five goals in each half to rout St. Mary 10-0 on the Vikings' home field.

In its first year after the school's formation, McCracken went 11-11-1 as players tried to get to know one another and build chemistry. Senior midfielder Alex Knowles said they were out to send a message to the rest of the region on Monday.

"We're a different team than we were last year, and we wanted to show people that we're going for a regional championship," said Knowles, who had two goals and two assists.

Knowles started the scoring in the seventh minute when he netted it in from 20 yards out, and 13 minutes later he found fellow senior Caleb Stonecipher for a goal to make it 2-0.

Collins got in on the action by scoring the next two goals, the first coming off a feed from Stonecipher and the second by taking the ball at midfield and going the rest of the way for the score. Knowles made it 5-0 just before the half off a feed from Zach Akin.

When Noah Deweese scored less than 15 seconds into the second half on a pass from Collins, it made it six goals for McCracken - all coming from seniors.

"A lot of us have played together outside of high school so we have good chemistry and we work well together," Knowles said. "We use the underclassmen and have them play off of us and they play balls through. But our senior class is pretty solid this year."

Those underclassmen got in on the action the rest of the half as Coach Aaron Fenton began to clear his bench. Sophomore Jack Knowles scored four minutes into the half on a pass from Jeremy Latham, with Jack Knowles later setting up Collins off a corner for the header goal to make it 8-0.

Collins got his hat trick on just five total shots.

"I was pleased with my finishing. I thought I did pretty well," he said.

Akin scored in the 61st minute on a rebound, with Alex Knowles finding Carlos Flowers for the game-ending goal with 11:38 left in the match.

After just two goals in the first 20 minutes of play, McCracken scored eight over the rest of the game to make it a blowout.

"It took them a while to gel and get moving, everyone is always nervous in the beginning," Fenton said. "But I was happy with how we did."

The Mustangs held the Vikings to one shot, with McCracken going for 37.

McCracken, which has four away games to begin its year, plays today at Caldwell County. St. Mary plays at Ballard Memorial tonight.

SCORING

First half - M-Alex Knowles, Caleb Stonecipher (Alex Knowles), Austin Collins (Stonecipher), Collins, Alex Knowles (Zach Akin).

Second half - M-Noah Deweese (Collins), Jack Knowles (Jeremy Latham), Collins (Jack Knowles), Akin, Carlos Flowers (Alex Knowles).

STATISTICS

Shots - McCracken 37, St. Mary 1

Records - McCracken 1-0, St. Mary 0-1

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