“That game, it was like a light turned on, everything clicked and from that moment on, the kids started playing really good soccer,” Reed said. “They were a lot of fun to be around, and we won playing some pretty soccer and some direct soccer.”
Ultimately, Smithville came up short of the most-coveted prize – a Missouri Class 2 state championship – but with a school record-tying 24 wins and a third-place finish at state, the Warriors’ seniors can exit the program with heads held high.
During the last three seasons, Smithville has been a staple in the state semifinals, racking up a runner-up finish in 2010 followed by back-to-back third-place finishes.
“This is the first class that’s been to three final fours, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any team around the state with kids who’ve been to three straight final fours,” Reed said.
Among the highlights this fall, the Warriors rattled off winning streaks of 14 and nine games, including two stretches of six straight shutouts.
“This was a special team to us, because almost all of our starters have played varsity for three years,” junior Troy Williams said. “We hang out all the time, so it’s a really special team to all of us. It’s one of the better seasons we’ve had.”
Led by senior forward Isaac Brenner, Smithville outscored its opponents this season145-17, which is patently absurd in case you’re wondering.
There were a few tears when it all ended last Saturday on the FieldTurf at Peve Stadium in Blue Springs.
“The last 10 minutes it started hitting me that I was playing my last game for Smithville,” Benner said.
Still, that sadness didn’t linger as Reed briefly reminded the Warriors of all the accomplishments the team achieved and the squad basked in the warmth of one final victory – 3-0 over Lutheran South of St. Louis – before walking off the field and into an awaiting throng of family and fans.
“I thought we had three really good years,” Benner said. “We’ve won districts 11 years in a row, so we hope the next group of seniors can continue building off that.”
Smithville, 24-4-0, also has won the Midland Empire Conference 11 straight years.
“These seniors have been great leaders and a lot of fun to be around,” Reed said. “Most of all, I’ll remember how much fun the season was. These kids were easy to coach because they listened. It’s a lot more fun for the coaches when you’ve got good kids who work hard.”
Thus, a standard of excellence has been established at Smithville that’s going to be tough to meet – not that the Warriors aren’t eager to try.
“Our junior class is great too, so we have high expectations to back again next year too,” Reed said.