Warhorses fueled by defense in soccer wins

  • Junior Ryan Harper, #8, has been leading the defensive charge for the Warhorses this season.

The Barnwell High boys varsity soccer team is peaking at the right time of the season with six wins in their last seven games.

The Barnwell High Warhorses are playing great at the right time of the season as their 9-3 overall record puts them in good position for the post season.

“There’s always room to get better. But I have to say I’m somewhat pleased with where we are as a team right now,” Barnwell High coach Dave Anastasia said. “Right now, we’re playing with a lot of intensity and we’re executing well on both ends of the field.”

Although Barnwell High’s offense has flourished with 14 goals in the last four games, most of the credit for the team’s recent success can be attributed to the play of the defense.

Lately, stifling defense has become second nature to a Barnwell High team that has allowed only three goals in the last four games, including two shutouts.

The defensive unit that has frustrated and made life miserable for opposing offenses is comprised by Ryan Harper, Donte Rhodes, Mason Cone, Dylan Walker and Shane Poplin.

Harper said he takes pride in keeping teams off the scoreboard.

“We’re serious in our practices and we take the same approach at game time,” Harper said. “We’re like a brotherhood. We believe in each other and we go out and play hard for one another.”

One of the Warhorses’ biggest region wins of the season came in 3-0 victory over rival Bamberg-Ehrhardt High on April 4 in Barnwell.

In the game, the Warhorses again excelled on defense. Junior keeper Devin Mack got his first start of the season and performed admirably. Mack earned his first career shutout, finishing with five saves in the contest.

Mack said he felt a little nervous starting in a big game against Bamberg-Ehrhardt.

“I felt some pressure, but settled down as the game got underway. This was a huge win for our team. I got great support from my teammates. They encouraged me the entire game. We had only had three shutouts this season and I’m glad I was able to come through today,” Mack said.

Offensively, the Warhorses had too much fire power for the Red Raiders. Fueling the charge for the Warhorses were Dee Reed, Dylan Walker and Jahir Hernandez with a goal each.