Fort Benning players on the boys and girls soccer teams of Pacelli High School and Chattahoochee County High School didn’t have to travel far for their game Monday night as the two schools met at Doughboy Stadium as part of a first-time special event.
Many Pacelli players have family members who are retired Soldiers and nearly all of the Chattahoochee County players reside on Fort Benning.
Pacelli girls head coach Shelia Spikes said her team got a taste of what it’s like to play an authentic home game under the lights of a stadium.
“We’re kind of like orphans,” Spikes said. “We don’t have our own field.”
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The Pacelli football team usually gets to play one or two home games per year at Doughboy Stadium and Pacelli boys coach Michael Dempsey pushed for the soccer teams to be able to have the same experience.
“Playing under the lights in a stadium on Fort Benning, I wanted that to be something they would remember,” Dempsey said.
Pacelli pitched a shutout against Chattahoochee County in both the boys and girls games. The Lady Vikings pulled away early and went on to defeat the Lady Panthers 6-0. As a result of Pacelli’s lockdown defense and aggressive offense, Chattahoochee County (3-4, 0-2 1A) failed to record a shot on goal and struggled to cross midfield. Pacelli (4-3-1, 3-1) had a 4-0 lead by halftime.
Chelsee Wright and Katherine Shayne each scored two goals and Shayne also had three assists.
The Pacelli boys team used its speed advantage to create counterattack and breakaway opportunities as the club defeated Chattahoochee County 4-0. While the early portion of the first half was a battle to control midfield, Pacelli (6-1, 5-1 1A) finally gained momentum after Alec Silva headed a goal in off a corner-kick assist by Ryan Tanner.
From then on, Chattahoochee County had a difficult time controlling the ball and maintaining defensive perimeter.
“There was just a lack of cohesiveness, a lack of playing together as a team,” Chattahoochee assistant coach Chris Chandler said. “That’s what it all came down to.”
The Vikings took 21 total shots on goal and scored three goals in the second half as they began to wear down Chattahoochee County. Pacelli forward Mike Jacobs scored goals in the 72nd and 75th minutes on breakaway opportunities.
“Our defense was really putting the pressure on them and set the ball up for the counter,” Jacobs said. “We just kept the pressure up and finally got some in the back of the net.”
Jacobs said the games were not only great to be able to play at Doughboy Stadium, but the experience was also beneficial to the Pacelli military community.
“Tonight I know we were representing the people, families of our school who were in the armed forces,” Jacobs said. “It was good to play for them.”