The Crimson Bears boys’ soccer team celebrated its senior night in front of fans and parents prior to Tuesday’s match against the Falcons.
But once the whistle blew, it was business as usual.
Juneau-Douglas took it to Thunder Mountain with a 6-0 win on the seniors’ final night at home.
“This is a great group of seniors,” JDHS coach Gary Lehnhart said. “To see them go out like this in front of their friends and family, and to play so well — they’ve been one of the best groups that’s come through as a unit and probably the most committed to soccer as we’ve had.
“It’s been fun to see them play at a high level, and it’s been really fun coaching them.”
Senior Rhett Bennett scored two goals for the Bears and classmate Max Smith put in one of his own, while junior Johnny Joyce and sophomores Jackson Lehnhart and Stuart Thurston capped the scoring for Juneau-Douglas.
“I am really pleased with this one. I said to the guys I’m not so concerned with the score, and thought we played really well tonight,” Gary Lehnhart said. “That’s all you can ask. I thought we played fast, creatively, and there was a lot to like about our effort.”
But it was difficult for JDHS to score in this one, regardless of the final result. Thunder Mountain freshman keeper Matt Seymour was fantastic in goal in what seemed like a total onslaught at times.
“He was spectacular,” Falcons coach Ry Walters said. “He’s a special player and nobody intimidates him.
“Only being a freshman, the sky’s the limit for him.”
For the Falcons, however, there are no moral victories. Walters said his group is dedicated to beating what has become the most potent program in the state in JDHS.
“We’re hungry,” he said. “We’re going to start working for that first game against the Bears next year tomorrow.”
But the Bears are focused on the near future, where their defense of last year’s state title really begins.
“We’ve taken a step up in our preparation for state, and we want to be playing at a high level in a few weeks,” Gary Lehnhart said.