By Brandon Walker
BIG SKY – Oct. 5 marked Senior Night for the Lone Peak High School varsity girls and boys soccer programs when they hosted the Laurel Locomotives. The Lady Big Horns got the action started, falling to the Locomotives 14-1, while the Lone Peak boys came away with a 2-0 victory in the nightcap.
Prior to each match, Lone Peak’s seniors were honored during an on-field ceremony. The Lady Big Horns recognized their two seniors, Sara Wilson and Della Levine, while the Big Horns paid tribute to five of their own: Michael Romney, Nolan Schumacher, Jackson Lang, Evan Iskenderian, and Miles Hoover.
Joined by their parents and guardians, the athletes shared fond memories and future aspirations, voiced over the intercom by LPHS Athletic Director John Hannahs.
When the games got underway, the Lady Big Horns had a tough time slowing down the Locomotives. Fighting until the very end, sophomore defender Avery Dickerson notched a second half goal to the delight of the hometown crowd. The goal was Dickerson’s second of the season.
In the boys match, LPHS controlled the tempo of the match from the start. The Big Horns out-possessed the Locomotives the entire game, leading to a flurry of 18 shots on goal and four corner kicks.
Fittingly, one of those 18 shots came in the 12th minute when seniors Hoover and Iskenderian combined to score the Big Horns’ first goal of the evening. Hoover swung an LPHS corner kick to the far post where Iskenderian was waiting. He buried the ball into the back of the net for the early 1-0 lead.
“After we got that goal, that gave us a little bit of a cushion [and] that they relaxed as a unit,” said Lone Peak Head Coach Tony Coppola. “I think that’s when you started to see the possession really come out … It’s really easy to play your game a little bit better when you’re not trying to catch up the whole time.”
At halftime, the score remained a one goal advantage in favor of LPHS. Then in the 65th minute, sophomore Cash Beattie doubled the Lone Peak lead when he received a feed from Hoover and fired it into the goal past the Laurel keeper.
“We’re a class C school playing class A ball,” Coppola said. “We have 12 guys. You know, it’s a bit of a Cinderella story … I just don’t want the glass slipper to come off.”
Beattie’s goal capped the scoring as Big Horn goalkeeper Michael Romney turned away all eight shots he faced. With the win, LPHS has earned a playoff bid in their inaugural varsity season. The team does not know their seed for the postseason yet, but seeding will be based on goal differential.
“It doesn’t matter what seed we get. I think the boys are excited,” Coppola said. “They’re finally kind of finding their stride in a lot of places. I mentioned that they still need to work on that first touch and a couple other things, but the whole playing-as-a-team aspect has really started to come together.”
Both the Lone Peak boys’ and girls’ soccer teams traveled to face Billings Central in their final contest of the regular season on Oct. 8, a day after EBS press day.