It took the state champs to knock the Pocahontas County High School boys soccer team out of the playoffs, but that’s what happened when Pikeview rallied for a 4-2 win over the Warriors in the regional championship game. The Panthers advanced to the state tournament – where they didn’t allow a single goal – and won the title with a 1-0 win over East Fairmont.
Losing to the eventual state champs was little consolation for the Warriors, who finished with an outstanding overall record of 13-4-1. But opposing coaches didn’t overlook Pocahontas when it came to All-State balloting. Two seniors, Alex Kinnison and Garrett McCurdy, made All-State second team; two juniors, Cary Robertson and Stephen Simmons got honorable mention. That’s pretty impressive recognition in a classification that combines A and AA schools.
Warriors head coach Cully McCurdy was disappointed with the loss, but pleased with his team’s effort against Pikeview, a large AA school.
“The weather was not the best in the world but we had a real good outing,” he said. “We felt that we were prepared to play and we probably controlled the midfield and won more 50-50 balls than what Pikeview did. But when they needed to, they scored the points, even though we made a valiant effort.
“They went to states and defeated Robert C. Byrd, 1-0, and East Fairmont, 1-0, for the single-A, double-A state championship. They were not scored upon at states. The last two goals that were scored on them this season were by our Cary Robertson.”
Four talented seniors played their final match in a Pocahontas uniform.
“We’re going to lose our senior goalkeeper,” McCurdy said. “Alex Kinnison is a four-year starter; two years in goal. He has started every match that he’s been healthy since he was a freshman. He’s garnered a lot of success, but he’s also seen some rough times. Whenever we started eight freshman, he was just starting out. It’s just really hard to replace someone like Alex – with his drive and tenacity and just an unequalled work ethic all through the year to get ready. He will be very sorely missed.”
Standout midfielder Garrett McCurdy will be difficult to replace.
“He led the team is assists, with 20, and was second on the team in scoring, with 16 goals,” said the coach. “He’s another four-year starter, along with Alex. They’ve started every game since they were freshmen, except for just a couple games with some minor injuries. Garrett’s led the Warriors in assists all four years of his high school career. He’s not flashy, but his numbers are almost unequalled in the state, as far as having that combination of goals and assists.”
The team will miss seniors James Coy and Joseph Coy – and their great speed.
“We’ve got James Coy, who was third this year on the team in scoring,” said McCurdy. “He had 15 goals and just lightning fast and really kept the pressure off of our leading scorer, Cary Robertson, and allowed him to have a lot of success, because no one could key on James or Cary.
“His twin brother Joe came on – our fourth senior. Hadn’t played soccer in four years. He had some health issues throughout the year, but when we had him on the field, he was just a really strong addition to our defense. Just like his brother – very fast and very controlled and just a great all-around athlete.”
The team chalked up some impressive stats this year.
“This Pocahontas team averaged 5.06 goals per game, which was number one in the State of West Virginia, for all single-A and double-A schools,” said McCurdy. “We were third in scoring, statewide, among all schools, behind Buckhannon-Upshur and Oak Hill. We had a very high scoring offense. No one was even close, at the A-AA level, to that type of scoring average.”
Garrett McCurdy was second on the team this season with 16 goals; James Coy was third with 15 goals. In assists, McCurdy led the team with 20; Green was second, with 16; and Robertson was third, with eight.
Despite losing four seniors, McCurdy says the future looks bright.
“Seventeen of 21 players are going to be returning and there will be eight starters back next year,” he said. “Included in those returning starters will be our leading scorer for the year, Cary Robertson, who had 26 goals on the season.”
In addition to sharpshooter Robertson, the team returns a capable defensive squad.
“There’s those guys on defense, those guys in the back, that don’t get a lot of the big stats for goals and assists,” said the coach. “Midfielders Philip Green, Chad Friel, Stephen Simmons and Brandon Cassell – those four guys will be back to anchor that midfield on defense. I went to all the state tournament matches and saw the stats for the All-State voting and that type of thing, and there’s nobody in the state that those four guys can’t play with. They’re that good. So I anticipate that next year will be a great season.”
Update: On Monday, several PCHS players were named to the All-Coalfield Conference Team. First team: Cary Robertson, Garrett McCurdy and Phillip Green. Second team: Alex Kinnison, Brandon Cassell and Stephen Simmons. Honorable Mention: James Coy, Chad Friel and Trey Walton.