COLUMBIA — On a day that was to be celebrated, the Hickman boys soccer team was left stunned and heartbroken.
Hickman lost 2-1 to Helias Catholic on the Kewpies’ senior night. Eleven members of the Hickman varsity team were honored in their final regular season home game of their high school careers.
Despite the pregame festivities, the Kewpies came out flat and let Helias Catholic score within the first minute of play.
The Crusaders' Brett Jackson beat the Hickman defense on a breakaway and then kicked the ball past Hickman goalkeeper Adrian Laikert to give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead with 39 minutes left in the first half.
The goal quieted what was an upbeat crowd that included many proud parents.
In the 13th minute of the second half, Hickman’s Peter Plakorus, while on the attack, was fouled and taken down from behind inside the box and given a penalty kick.
Plakorus converted on the attempt to tie the game at 1, which stayed knotted until 20 seconds remained in regulation.
A foul was called in Hickman’s defensive zone and Helias was awarded a free kick as the clock continued to run. Jackson took the free kick for the Crusaders and sent the ball toward the goal with six seconds left. Laikert blocked the shot but Helias’ Logan Shea rebounded the miss and scored as the horn sounded.
Hickman players fell to the turf hanging their heads and hiding their tears. Plakorus ran to the other side of field and sat next to the goal in solitude with his jersey covering his head as he tried to control his emotions.
Hickman coach Adam Taylor said he was most disappointed with the way his team started the game.
“If we would have played our style of soccer, with more urgency, we would not have been in this spot,” he said. “We played undisciplined soccer. In the last minute, we played not to lose while they were trying to win.”
Once Taylor was done addressing the team, his players quickly gathered their belongings and headed straight for the locker room, avoiding parents and fans.
A distraught Scott Whitehill, one of the Kewpies seniors, said his team did not give enough of a fight from the start.
“It’s no one’s fault. It’s everyone's fault,” he said. “We win as a team and we lose as a team.”
Hickman falls to a 7-12-2 record for the season and will play Eureka on Friday in the Rock Bridge Shootout.
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.