By R. Alan Richardson
In an historic season for the Morgan County Middle School’s soccer squad, Coach Griffin Gardner and staff guided the team to an undefeated and near perfect record of 15-0-1 with only a 3-3 tie against Athens Academy keeping them from running the table. The offensive firepower and defensive intensity put up some impressive numbers that included 112 goals scored against only five goals given up, 13 shutouts, nine games won in mercy-rule fashion, and Piedmont Athletic Conference Tournament wins over Greene County and Putnam County by the tune of 10-0 in both contests. Now, that’s getting it done.
Gardner, a former Morgan County student-athlete, is in her second year of guiding the team and teaches sixth grade science at MCMS. She said, “We started the season off strong with a win against Oconee County (3-1), and only improved as the season progressed. Each player was a key component to the team’s overall success. We were undefeated because each player was completely committed on and off the field, which helped make this team the most coachable team I have worked with. Their level of respect for one another and dedication to the team is what won us the Piedmont Athletic Conference Region Championship.”
Scoring for Morgan this year were Cailyn Berisko (8th grade), Addy Christian (8th grade), Kaily Mitchell (8th grade), Avery Mize (8th grade), Sidda Outlaw (8th grade), Bailey Owen (8th grade), Hayven Tanner (8th grade), Briana Worley (8th grade), Amelia Anderson (7th grade), Anna Kate Hill (7th grade), Gracie Letson (7th grade), Camp Stamps (7th grade), Jaden Young (6th grade). In the finals victory over Putnam scoring was led by Mitchell’s three goals and followed by Outlaw and Tanner with two each, and Worley, Berisko, and Hill knocking down one score apiece.
Gardner added, “Although the following players did not score, they were invaluable to the team’s success: Destiny Hunter (8th grade), Daphne Lopez (8th grade), Emerson Clark (7th grade), Mariana Victoria (7th grade), Quinn Butler (6th grade), Bella Howard (6th grade), Kate Reynolds (6th grade).”
The strong eighth grade group will now graduate and give Coach Anne Stamps’ high school squad some much-needed depth for next year. They were Cailyn Berisko, Addy Christian, Destiny Hunter, Daphne Lopez, Kaily Mitchell, Avery Mize, Sidda Outlaw, Bailey Owen, Hayven Tanner, and Briana Worley
Gardner had lots to say about those who assisted the team’s efforts this year. “I would like to thank the parents for their continual support throughout the season. I would also like to thank Milfred Franklin and Doug Connelly for being our athletic directors, assisting with scheduling, and supporting all Morgan County sports. I would like to thank our administration for supporting our athletes in the classroom and on the field. And lastly I would like to thank Aaron Paul and Anne Stamps for working closely with us, collaborating with the middle school soccer teams, and assisting with prepping the fields to make sure we were fully equipped before each of our games.”
Congratulations to this group of fine young student-athletes. They have a bright future ahead at MCHS.