WEST JEFFERSON — The final match of the regular season had a little extra meaning for the Ashe County Huskies.
Former player Erick Barcenas passed away a few hours before the Huskies had to take the field. The team was already planning on wearing jerseys with Barcenas’ name on the back and to help raise money to pay for medical bills after being injured in a car accident earlier in October. However, they certainly weren’t expecting the sad news not long before the match started.
“It’s definitely a difficult thing when you have a day like today to be able to focus on a soccer game, but I think that tonight offered a little bit of escape for us for a couple of hours from that pain that we have been feeling for the past couple of weeks,” said Ashe County head coach Wes Rousseau.
The Huskies came out fired up and scored quickly in the 12th minute off of a nice shot from Daniel Lipscomb.
Alec Roland added a second goal for the Huskies in the 28th minute to keep West Wilkes on their heels.
With two minutes to play in the first half, Caleb Key found an interesting way to score off of a penalty kick. Key’s initial shot was blocked by the keeper, but no one else from West Wilkes bothered to move and Key had another one-on-one attempt with the goalie and this time, his shot made it by the keeper for a 3-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, Ashe added on a couple more scores. Jesus Barcenas connected on a perfect header attempt off of a corner kick in the 61st minute for a 4-0 lead. In the 68th minute, the corner kick was once again friendly to the Huskies with Johnny Retezatu scoring on a well-played ball from Lucas Pruitt.
Ashe finished the regular season with a 16-7 record and a 12-2 conference record. West Wilkes fell to 7-12 overall and 7-7 in conference.
“I was proud of how the boys came out and competed tonight, and I feel like we’re rounding into shape and playing some of our best soccer at just the right time of the season,” said Coach Rousseau.
Up next for the Huskies will be the 2A state playoffs and Ashe could certainly be a team no one wants to face off with.
“We should have a home playoff game, and our home field offers a pretty distinct advantage,” Rousseau said. “We were young and inexperienced at the beginning of the year, but now we have a season underneath our belts, which has helped us to grow, the boys feel confident and we look forward to making a little bit of noise in the playoffs this season.”
Playoff brackets were deleted a few days by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association after Hurricane Matthew disrupted so many athletic events in the eastern portion of the state. Brackets will be released on Nov. 3 with the first round playoff games beginning on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.