COLLINSVILLE – When they faced the Collinsville Kahoks in a Class 3A Quincy Regional semifinal match on Tuesday, the Granite City Warriors were setting their sights on going to Quincy on Saturday to compete in their first regional championship match in seven years.
“We had all of the confidence in the world,” Granite City senior Clayton Jakul said.
But the Kahoks had other ideas.
Collinsville ended Granite City’s season with a 4-0 win and it will travel to Quincy to play the Blue Devils in the regional championship match on Saturday. Quincy beat Alton 3-1 in the other Quincy Regional semifinal on Tuesday.
“They’re a good team,” Granite City coach Kenny Jackson said. “They have a couple of kids up top, one is an all-state kid and the other is all-sectional. They’re on their home field and they know how to play and they know the field.”
The Warriors ended their season at 3-15-3. They lost their final four matches, all of them by shutout.
“It hasn’t been going good in Granite City for a while now,” said Jackson, whose team finished with two wins last year. “I’ve been part of the program for eight years now and I don’t think we had a winning record during that time. Obviously, the last two years have been a real downturn. It’s not for a lack of effort. We’re simply trying to put in things and we’ll go forward. There’s nothing else to do but to move on from here.”
The Warriors’ last winning season came in 2008, when they were 11-7-3. It was also the last time the program played in a regional championship match.
Granite City beat Oakville, Duchesne and Hononegah for its only victories. The Warriors were 0-7-3 before beating Oakville on Sept. 21 at the CYC Tournament for their first win of the season.
Three seniors played their last high school soccer match – Jakul, Zach Druhe and Ryan Houston – on Tuesday.
“It sucks that it’s my last time playing,” Jakul said. “But I’m glad I got to play with these Warriors. They’re great kids. I’ll play with them any other day.”
Druhe finished with a team-high six goals, Jakul scored a goal and Houston played all 21 matches as the goalkeeper.
“Zach was a team captain and has been a varsity player all four years and he’s a big hole that we’re going to have to fill. He did a lot of things for us,” Jackson said. “Clayton always gives us effort when he’s out on the field. Ryan Houston is a senior goalkeeper and that’s tough to replace.”
Jakul said he’s confident the program will be successful in the future.
“Down the road, Kenny Jackson will take it as far as he can,” the Granite City senior said. “He’ll try to improve as much as he can. I know he will. He loves the game, he loves the program and he puts his whole heart into it.”
The Kahoks, who won the Southwestern Conference championship this fall, improved to 18-4-1 and won their fourth straight match, all of them by shutout. They’re a victory away from their first regional championship since 2008.
On Sept. 29, Collinsville edged Granite City 2-1 at Gene Baker Field. On Tuesday, the Kahoks scored a goal in the first half and three in the second to pull off the win.
Senior Erik Tejada gave the Kahoks a 1-0 lead with a goal with 37 seconds left in the first half. Jackson said he was upset that his team didn’t go into the locker room with a scoreless tie.
“At that point, where they had the ball as much as they did in the first half, you want to get out of there with a 0-0 tie and come in and regroup and set up a new game plan,” Jackson said.
Logan Whitehead, Josh Wobbe and Clay Hartman scored goals in the second half for Collinsville, which posted its 12th shutout of the season.