Bluebirds send Cards home from state tournament

Published 12:16 am Tuesday, October 23, 2018

George Rogers Clark fell on the road 4-0 in the opening round of the state tournament to the Highlands High School Bluebirds Monday.

Highlands scored two goals within the first 15 minutes of the second half.

Their third goal came just three minutes into the second half and a header from a corner kick seven minutes later sealed the game.

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Head coach Matt Abner said Highlands is one of the most solid teams in the tournament.

“They are good in every part of their game,” he said. “They are defensively sound. They move the ball well and every time they pass the ball it seems like they hit one of their players. They compliment each other with speed, possession and are really explosive around the goal. They are ranked fourth or fifth in the state right now and they are very deserving of that.”

Abner said regardless of the loss, he is pleased with the outcome of the season.

“It went excellent,” he said. “Anytime you can win your district and region with a county team is always a tough task. We have done this three years in a row which is almost unheard of around here. We play Northern Kentucky teams like Scott High and Campbell County who have a bigger range of players to choose from. They are bigger clubs and we have been pretty blessed to have the players we have. We have been able to get them to play together to win three in a row and hopefully four next year.”

Abner said it never gets easier saying goodbye to key players and seniors who leave the program.

“It is a tough thing to do,” he said. “Each senior is different and emotions are always high during these games, especially at the end. Taylor Kelly has been a dynamic defender for us the past four years. She started off and on as a freshman, but sophomore year until now she has started almost every game. Carlie Fike has played a big part for us and we have seen her grow and be a good contributor to this team. I have coached Brooklyn Johnson since fifth grade when I used to be at the middle school program. When you are around a player for that long and see how they develop into a young lady and player makes it hard to see them go. I am glad all three of them are going to do great and I am excited to see what they do in the next chapter of life.”