Marshall holds off Tigers for championship

Murray High's Gabe Taylor connects on the header attempt against Marshall County. He scored on a similar play later in the game.

MURRAY — In a hard fought, exciting and highly entertaining game, the Murray High Tigers came up short against the Marshall County Marshals in the district championship, 3-1.

The game was everything a soccer fan could ask for. It was physical, fast-paced and at times beautiful. Murray High had the first real opportunity in the eighth minute when Trey Boggess got free inside of the box, but the Marshals keeper was up to the task and pushed the ball away.

Throughout the first half, it seemed each side would have their stretch of time with control and for the first 30 minutes the score remained 0-0. 

“It was a game of little 10 minute momentum shifts, and it was great. Fun to watch, fun to coach, and I’m sure it was fun to play in,” Tigers head coach Jared Rosa said. “Our game plan worked really great, to pressure their center backs and make them get rid of the ball. Those two center backs act as quarterbacks for them and dictate the game and we knew if we could get the ball off of their foot, we match up really well in the midfield.”

In the 32nd minute, the Marshals broke the ice with a goal from their top-scorer on the season, William Lynch. Just like that, the Tigers trailed.

The score remained 1-0 at the half, and in the second half, Murray came out in full attack mode. Within the first five minutes, they pressured and earned a corner kick. All season the Tigers had been dangerous on set pieces and they came through once again when Chase Renick found Gabe Taylor for the brilliant header. 

“It was a pinpoint ball from Renick and he (Taylor) just rose up and got it and put it right where he needed to put it,” Rosa said. “It was beautiful. He’s a captain for a reason.”

As the game progressed, Marshall retook the momentum and the lead on a loose ball in the box that eventually was put away into the net. 

That was in the 58th minute, and Murray rebounded well to keep themselves in it. They started to shift the momentum back, but a foul near midfield put a stop to the shift.

“I felt like we were really pressing the last 25 minutes and that foul happened and it switched back immediately,” Rosa said. 

Once Marshall got things going their way again, they were able to put in a third and final goal in the 77th minute on a shot that nobody could’ve stopped. 

Now, the Tigers get to prepare to face the McCracken County Mustangs for the second-straight year in the regional tournament, and the first time this year.

“We haven’t seen them this year, which hopefully is a plus for us,” Rosa said. “They haven’t seen us, so I’m sure everybody will be giving scouting reports to both teams, and I’ll be asking. It should be interesting. We’ll be on a neutral field and it could be anybody’s game. I know these guys really want to get another shot at Marshall and hopefully that will happen.” 

The 2nd District All-Tournament Team was announced at the conclusion of the contest, with Calloway County’s JoJo Roblero, Dalton Puckett and Landon Houk earning a spot, plus Murray High’s Nathan Rogers, Carter Allen, Renick and Taylor.

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