The Waynesville Tigers hosted the Willard Tigers on another beautiful fall evening.  After a physical and mental battle on Tuesday, the team was looking forward to getting back on the pitch.  Unfortunately the boys were again slow to get focused at the start of the game, and Willard took advantage early with speed and clinical finishing when they scored just over two minutes into the game.  They were able to expose our defensive flanks and consistently delivered dangerous crosses into the 18 yard box. Willard followed up with a second goal at the 8 minute mark and never looked back as the team struggled to find a rhythm to the game. By the twenty minute mark Willard was in cruise control hitting the back of the net for the third time.  Waynesville couldn't find the spark to overcome the deficit and regain any traction before half time.  
After halftime the boys improved their overall play and began to create better scoring opportunities.  The midfield led by Joey Cartwright and Angel Longoria began to find gaps in Willard's defense creating opportunities on the offensive end.  Garrett Long continued his quality play at the start of the season working hard as striker getting into the 18 yard box.  After receiving a pass from the right flank while in the box he was able to draw a penalty kick as the defense became desperate.  Long calmly stepped up to the penalty spot and beat a frozen keeper with a perfect strike to the left of center.  The run of play continued to improve, with David Havlin, Cameron Wilbur, and Brain Moose having chances on goal for the Tigers until the final whistle.  Willard's speed and quality finishing proved to be the difference as they added two more goals in the second half and securing a 5-1 victory.  The team continued to see solid performances on defense from Brandon Burkett and Isaac Swanson.  Swanson in particular faced a tough night in goal stopping many high quality shots, and kept the score line from being far worse.  On offense David Havlin and Dayton Griffon provided quality minutes in the midfield.
While it was a somber night on the pitch, the team enjoyed the enthusiastic crowd support from their peers who kept the energy high until the end.  They were truly the twelfth man helping the Tigers dig a little deeper to see the game out and work through the early season adversity.
It was also a special treat to see Nelson Morgan at the game, as he came into town to take in a few days of Tiger athletics, both Waynesville and Mizzou!   Morgan was a long time Waynesville teacher, coach, and voice of the Tigers as the announcer for many sports.  Last year he, and wife Betty, moved to Tennessee to be closer to their son and grandchildren.  They both have been sorely missed as fans and supporters of the community and the students of Waynesville.  It was great seeing you Coach Morgan!
The JV Team lost 1-0 to Willard's JV despite maintaining possession throughout both halves of play.  Unfortunately they gave up an unlucky goal in the first half and struggled to create quality shots despite controlling the game.  The boys are creating great opportunities and will begin finishing those opportunities as they grow in experience.
The Tigers next game will be on the road to an improved West Plains squad Tuesday night.