The Bulldogs played about as perfect of a game as they could, but were unable to connect on several offensive opportunities, falling to Amory in the North Half championship, 2-0, Wednesday night.
New Albany had two early scoring chances, first from Carlos Zaragoza five minutes in and 10 minutes later from Moses Kingsley, but every attempt by the ‘Dawgs fell short. Madison Francis scored the Panthers’ first goal at 20:50 off a free kick on a penalty, and Amory led 1-0 at the break.
“The first goal was shot great, placed perfectly, but we should have never gave up the foul in the first place,” NAHS head coach Taylor Nichols said. “There’s not telling how many shots we had, but they played their hearts out and did everything they were asked.”
The Bulldogs opened the second half in the same situation, placing the ball perfectly, but not able to score. Six minutes into the half, New Albany had four quick shots on the goal and were left empty handed each time.
New Albany dominated the time of possession, but Amory was able to make the most of their few touches. Zach Khima closed the door on the ‘Dawgs with his goal late in the game, which is his 57th of the season.
“They did everything great except put the ball in the back of the net. They played great defense and they chipped away at it,” Nichols said. “You hate a game a game like that, because you feel like you dominated the entire game and controlled it.”
New Albany ends the 2010-2011 season finishing ahead of where they did last year, making it to the North Half title game. Nichols hopes this is a sign of good things to come for the Bulldogs next season.
“We’re just trying to build. These seniors have really built this program and bought in to the program. That’s why it’s so disappointing, because they’ve worked so hard,” he said. “Hopefully we can build on this, and we’ll have to just get back to work. It was a great season. We didn’t get as many wins and we’d still like to be playing, but that’s how it is.”
For Amory, the Panthers and former Bulldog player and coach Nathan Clayton advance to Saturday’s 4A state championship in Clinton.