The 2017 soccer season has been a great one for the Crocker Lions. They have gone from playing College Christian Heights in Crocker to start their season August 19th, and finishing by playing in the state final four in St Louis County on November 3rd and 4th at the Toyota Stadium in the World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton.
This is the second time in school history for a Crocker team to make it to that level in the state tournament. They are also the only team from Pulaski County to make it that far in the Missouri State Soccer Tournament in any class.
The Crocker Lions team started in the summer playing summer league which gave them team comradery according to Head Coach Darren Boberg. He said, “This group of boys has been together as a team since day one.”
Class 1 State Semifinals Sacred Heart(Sedalia) Gremlins
Crocker began their journey to school history by first playing the Sacred Heart Gremlins from Sedalia.
Crocker came into the game with a state best record of 19-1 and coming off a close win over the Greenwood BlueJays from Springfield. Sacred Heart came into the game with a 15-8 record on the season and were on a three game winning streak that included an overtime win over Valley Park near Fenton.
The game would start out scoring for the Gremlins. They would score early when forward Ryan Chmelir scored an unassisted goal to give Sacred a lead only 0:54 seconds into the first half. The halftime score of the game was 1-0 Sacred Heart.
The second half started strong as both teams went back and forth each with outstanding defense. Sacred heart received a penalty kick after a hard foul at the 49:24 mark of the game. Jose Colindres was successful in his kick with the Gremlins having a 2-0 lead in the game.
Just six minutes later the Crocker Lions would bounce back and bring the game back in reach. Dillon Porter would score an assisted goal from Samuel Carringer off a free kick by Caleb McMurtrey. After another tough thirteen minutes, Crocker would strike the second time as Caleb McMurtrey would assist Fabio Felli on a goal at the 68:50 mark.
Crocker would hold Sacred Heart off for another nine minutes but Jose Colindres assisted Sergio Justiano-Guer on a goal with less than three minutes to go. The Lions were unable to get another clean shot of the goal and the game ended with Crocker's second loss of the season.
The Final score was 3-2, Sacred Heart. Crocker had nine shots on the goal, with four of them being on target. Sacred Heart had seven shots, with three of them on target. Crocker led in the assist category 3-1 in the tough loss.
Class 1 State Third Place Game
The Crocker Lions played their next game at 10 AM against a very tough Saxony Lutheran Crusaders team out of Jackson. The Crusaders were coming into the game with a 14-12 record, coming off a 2-0 loss to Bishop LeBlond their semifinal game.
The majority of the first half of the game was a beautiful defensive matchup. The score stayed the same till less than three minutes in the first half as Crocker. Caleb McMurtrey had an assist to Shelton Minor which gave the Lions a 1-0 lead into halftime. At the half both teams had nearly even shots on the goal with Saxony Lutheran having four shots, while Crocker had three. Crocker also had the only assist of the half. The Lions Jonathan Gray had the only save of the half.
Saxony Lutheran started with the ball in the second half of the game. The first fifteen minutes of the final half was another great match-up by both teams. Both teams would hold each other off till the 55:00 minute mark, when Saxony Lutheran's Gavin Steffens scored off an assist by Micah Mirley.
The game would not remain tied for long, as the Crocker Lions Senior Dhenem Lancaster scored the game leading goal to give the Lions the lead they would not lose. Lancaster was assisted by Caleb McMurtrey for his second assist of the game. Just 28 seconds to go in the game, McMurtrey scored his own goal to give Crocker a 3-1 lead in the game. Dillon Porter would score the final goal in the game for Crocker.
The final score was 4-1, Crocker. The Lions had the most shots on the goal including an amazing seven shots in the second half.
Head Crocker Lions Coach Darren Boberg said this about playing in the final four, “It was a once in a lifetime experience. We have good group of boys this year. We have a good group of boys coming up next year. We hope to be coming back next year.”
Crocker is graduating ten seniors this year. Head Coach Boberg is excited for the eighth grade class to help bring Crocker back next year.