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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Tigers win district title

  • Before the season started, Steve Schnackenberg and his Neosho Wildcats set a goal for themselves: Get to the district championship game against Carthage and then see where things go from there.
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  • Before the season started, Steve Schnackenberg and his Neosho Wildcats set a goal for themselves: Get to the district championship game against Carthage and then see where things go from there.
    Well, they did that, and they didn’t waste the moment. The Wildcats, however, came up short in a 2-1 loss to the Tigers in the Class 2, District 12 final at Carl Junction High School on Thursday. But they played well enough to walk from the field with their heads held high.
    “Man, I tell you what, you’ve got to be proud of (our team) for overcoming (the pressure) and they just played hard,” Schnackenberg said. “We came out and we spent just one day in practice working on what we did tonight and they came out and executed perfectly.”
    After stomping Webb City 8-1 to get to the finals, the Tigers entered Thursday with a head of steam and an 18-8 record. Just as the Wildcats expected, they possessed the ball very well and didn’t make many mistakes. But neither did the Wildcats, who saved what could have been their best game for last.
    Much of Neosho’s success in slowing the Tigers across the defensive midfield is owed to a trio of seniors playing in what was their final prep match in Joey Jennings, Jordan Linehan and Landon Baker. The trio closed their careers with, well, career nights.
    “They just absolutely set the tone early with the way they were playing, and carried it throughout the game,” Schnackenberg said. “And when Landon came in he did exactly what the other two were doing. They did a great job of running the field from that spot and holding our defense and making Carthage do what they didn’t want to do.”
    The Tigers got both of their goals late in the first half and led 2-0 at the break. Their first score came off the right foot of senior Ismael Serratos after he got his foot on a loose ball in front of the net with 10:20 left in the first half.
    Serratos, who holds the school record for goals for Carthage, added another goal less than five minutes later when he took a perfect pass from Victor Lopez and headed it into the net with 5:46 left in the half.
    The Wildcats wouldn’t go away, however, as they got on the board when Taylor Gilliam lobbed a shot over the Tigers goalie to make it 2-1 with 17:12 remaining. Meanwhile, senior keeper Paul Sanders was hard at work keeping the Tigers at bay. He turned in 12 saves in his farewell match.
    Neosho’s other real opportunity to score came with 29 minutes left in the first half when Nathan Scribner got a run at the net, but his shot was saved at point-blank range.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We didn’t stab at the ball,” Schnackenberg said. “We contained the ball and waited on them to make some mistakes. Possession wasn’t totally Carthage tonight, and I’m proud of (our team) for that. We had some possession with the ball and we worked hard when we had it.”
    The Tigers finished with 14 shots on goal while the Wildcats turned in five. Neosho closed the season with an 11-10 record.
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