The Academy of Richmond County's soccer team fell short Friday night. It's a testament to how special a season the Musketeers had in 2004 to say that.
The Musketeers tied Grayson 1-1 to earn a share of the state title. Richmond Academy became the first team in the area to win a state soccer championship.
It meant a lot, but just not enough in the moment. One team gushed over the chance to hold the Georgia High School Association Class AAA state soccer championship trophy. That was not the home team. Richmond Academy had to be led to it like they were sheep going to a patch of brown grass.
"It hurts because we're all disappointed," Richmond Academy coach Chris Hughes said. "You look the kids in their eyes and see disappointment killing them."
The Musketeers lost their chance at an unbeaten and untied season when goalkeeper Peter Menk couldn't collect a Peter Ayoade header streaking just to the right of his torso. It erased Richmond Academy's 1-0 first-half lead.
"We were just sloppy," junior midfielder Parker Rogers said.
The other sideline was ready to paint our town the distinct shade of Grayson Rams green.
"This is like the happiest moment of my life," Grayson's A.J. Marceau said. "This is amazing. It's the pinnacle of my soccer career. I'm just so happy."
Maybe the Musketeers can garner some of that same zeal when they see their state championship trophy and state title rings.
"It's tough to find the right words," Mr. Hughes said. "And we just won a state championship. Unreal. It's funny to say this, but I think we might be OK once we get used to the fact we just won a state soccer championship."
Richmond Academy finished the year at 24-0-1.
Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.