When a car accident took the life of Head Soccer Coach Jed Lacey in August, it rocked the community and devastated his friends, family and the soccer program at Dawson County High School.
Lacey left a legacy on the field and in the hearts of many of the individuals that he interacted with. A pillar of the community, he was a special education teacher, an assistant football coach and head coach of both the girls and boys soccer teams.
"[Coach Lacey] loved every one of his players as if they were his own children. He was an incredible mentor to those of us who had the privilege of coaching with him and I've never known anyone else more dedicated, more passionate and more caring about his players than he was," said Varsity boys Head Coach Derek Waters.
Lacey's legacy at DCHS included three regional championships and 15 state appearances between the boys and girls soccer programs. Under Lacey, the Tigers were ranked in the Top 10 State Rankings 11 times. Following his passing, Head Coach Chess Hamby took over the girls program and Waters took over for the boys. Even so, questions remained regarding the future and direction of the Dawson County Soccer Program.
"We have tried to keep everything as consistent as possible for the players,” said Hamby. "They know this system and have been very successful with this system, so it wouldn't be very wise to try to change up a lot of things.”
The Varsity boys and girls teams opened against Mountain View in an exhibition matchup this past Friday. The Lady Tigers made everyone optimistic for the season when they dominated Mountain View in an impressive 5-0 victory. Freshman Molly Muenchen scored three goals on the Lady Bears in her debut high school game. To top off the stellar performance, players Sam Floyd and Rachel Rajczak also each scored a goal for the Tigers.
In addition to giving the offense credit, Hamby acknowledged the performance of the defense against Mountain View.
"Any time that you have a shut-out you have to give credit it to your goalkeepers and defense,” Hamby said. “Fallan Lacey and Ashley Stanfill both had some incredible saves throughout the night. Mackenzie Kimbral is kind of like our field general on defense. She does a great job of leading the defense and making sure everyone is where they need to be on the field."
The Varsity Tiger boys team also went head to head with Mountain View at home Feb. 2.
The defense played a significant role in the Varsity boy's performance. Goalkeeper Braden Davidson had several saves, earning the first shut-out of the season. Notable defensive contributors were Raleigh Payne, Caleb Bonesteel and Jack and Karson Pharris.
Though Michael Velasquez managed to head the ball into goal off an assist from Dennis Pyetsukh, in a disappointing turn of events, the goal was negated due to an offside call. Ultimately, the Tigers and the Bears went on to end the game in a tie.
Against a 7-A opponent, the Varsity girls win and the Tiger boys refusal to take a loss were significant indicators of an exciting season ahead. The two Tiger teams are determined to maintain the same level of commitment to hard work in this future season as they did under Lacey.
"You don't honor someone like Jed Lacey without winning at a high level," said Hamby on maintaining Lacey's tradition of winning at DCHS.
The Tigers prepared for their regular season opener facing Pinecrest Feb. 6 at home, with the girls playing at 5 p.m. and boys at 7 p.m. Results were not available as of press time.