Fort Mill Times

Indian Land soccer team too much for grads

Indian Land Head Coach Adam Cole tries to steal the ball during the Warriors' annual alumni game last Friday. The current team, however, came away with a 6-1 victory over the graduates.
Indian Land Head Coach Adam Cole tries to steal the ball during the Warriors' annual alumni game last Friday. The current team, however, came away with a 6-1 victory over the graduates.

For the crowd at Indian Land Stadium last Friday night, interesting rivalries were not hard to find.

Brothers against brothers, coaches against students, old friends forming new rivalries.

The current Indian Land boys soccer team, a week after its 16-1 season came to an end in the third round of the state playoffs, wrapped up the year by taking on the school's alumni, a collection of Warrior graduates spanning the past three decades at least.

"Tim Thornton, the JV coach - he's probably the oldest one out here," Head Coach Adam Cole said.

On the other end, freshman defender Jonathan Rowe was probably the youngest.

"He played well - we all did," Cole said.

For an hour an-a-half, it was a time for Warriors from the past to relive their playing days on the turf of the school's stadium, although the younger group may have woken them from their dream.

"It seems like they're getting faster every year," said Kevin Macafee, a 2007 graduate and goalkeeper on the alumni team. "But maybe we're getting slower."

"I come back every year to see everybody, it's a lot of fun," he said.

Thanks to two goals by scoring leader Sergio Esparrago and solid play by senior Luke Lambert in his final appearance as a current Warrior, it was this year's team that came away with a 6-1 victory.

"They should play like that all year," Cole said after the match. "When they have fun, come out and pass, they play great together."

With the win, the group turned the tables from last year, and most other alumni games, Cole said.

"The older guys usually win. We won 2-0 last year," he said. "Last year we schooled them pretty badly."

Among the players from various past classes was Anthony Sweatt, a 2008 graduate who is now a freshman at Winthrop University, and the previous boys single-season scoring champion until his record was broken by Esparrago's 30 goals this season. He is also the older brother of current Warriors goalkeeper Patrick Sweatt, who played across the field with Esparrago.

"It felt pretty great beating him," Patrick said with a smirk about playing against his brother. "It was a lot of fun. It's great to get out on the field. They wouldn't let me out of the goal all year."

He did get a few minutes in the game as a forward while his teammates were given chances to try their hand at goalie.

It wasn't until late in the second half, trailing 6-0, that the alumni were finally able to get a ball into the net.

It was Cole, who headed the ball off the post on an attack, gathered the rebound and finished with a shot into the upper left corner, to break up the shutout.

"I had to hold it down for the old folks," he said.

Despite the lopsided score, the overwhelming theme of the night was the fun of seeing old friends and teammates and, of course, the friendly trash talking.

"They might have won 6-1, but I taught them everything they know," Cole said.

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