COLUMBIA — At halftime of his team's Class 3, District 9 semifinal, Hickman boys soccer coach Adam Taylor promised the halftime score of 1-0 would not be the final score.
He was wrong.
But Taylor's team was leading Jefferson City on Monday night at Rock Bridge. The Kewpies will advance to face Rock Bridge in Wednesday night's 6 p.m. district championship game. The Bruins beat Washington 5-0 to advance.
Less than four minutes into the game, a Kewpies throw-in by James Griggs went off the head of Hickman's Alex Holliday and found the feet of Peter Plakorus. He turned and beat the Jefferson City goalkeeper to give his team the only goal of the game.
"I just turned and hit it as hard as I could," Plakorus said.
Of his emotions following the goal the junior said, "It took me over the edge."
Taylor said the only bad part of scoring the early goal was trying to make it stand during the final 77 minutes.
"It's just awful as a coach," he said. "You are doing everything you can to get that clock to zero as quickly as possible."
Jefferson City had chances to even the score, but it could not find a way past the Hickman defense and goalkeeper Spencer Mills.
Taylor called his defense's play "outstanding."
"We might have been outplayed for part of the game," Taylor said. "But we were not outworked."
In the regular season matchup, the Kewpies scored first but saw the Jays come back and score the game's final four goals. Plakorus said experience from that game and trust in his teammates made this outcome different.
"We learned how to stay with them," Plakorus said.
Hickman has a chance to avenge more regular season losses Wednesday night.
Rock Bridge beat Hickman both times the teams met during the regular season. The Bruins shut out the Kewpies each time, winning 1-0 at home and 6-0 at Hickman.
Taylor said he thinks if his team plays like they did Monday night, they can beat the Bruins.
He then quoted Hickman's football coach, Arnel Monroe, who talked to the team before they faced Jefferson City. "You have to believe in your heart that you can win."