Boys Soccer: Smith, Truitt propel Knights to playoff victory

By Dylan O'Toole, Round Table Sports Editor

The Middletown High School boys soccer team stood on the MHS soccer field at 5 pm last nights with a determined look in their eyes. This is the playoffs, and the Knights won’t allow themselves to fall to Catoctin.

Middletown took down Catoctin 3-0 in the 2A West Section I quarterfinals.

The Knights completely dominated the action, using speedy junior midfielders Clay Smith and Jonathan Tatem to push the ball forward and create opportunities for their teammates.

After multiple shots on goal stopped by the Catoctin goal keeper, the Knights were finally able to break through and put one in the back of the net in the 39th minute.

Senior defender Marshall Truitt used his height to his advantage and was able to score with his head off of a Tatem corner.

“It was just a beautiful corner from Jon Jon [Tatem],” said Truitt. “I was just there, ready to intercept it and put it in the back of the net.”

The Knights had some trouble with the elements early, causing a shaky start with quite a few turnovers.

“The wind was a definitely a factor early,” said Smith.

Smith was able to figure out the wind in the second half though, scoring two goals after the half.

Smith’s first goal was a beautiful 25-yard rocket that found the back corner of the net in the 56th minute.

Smith then scored just seconds later on a broken play to give the Knights a commanding 3-0 lead.

“Jon Jon [Tatem] shot a beautiful ball with his left foot and it deflected off the goalie,” said Smith. “I pretty much just followed it up and tapped it in.”

It wasn’t all roses early for the Knights early. Catoctin came into the game with fire, something that the Knights weren’t expecting.

“We were trying to get the ball up through the midfield, but Catoctin came out with a chip on its shoulder,” said Smith. “They came out really fast, but our backline did a good job not giving up any chances.”

The Knights will now take on Oakdale, a familiar foe of the Knights in recent years. Oakdale beat the Knights in last year’s regional playoffs, 2-0.

The Knights matchup better with the Bears this year than last. The two teams spilt their matchups this season, the Bears winning the first game 2-0 and the Knights winning the second game 1-0.

One big advantage for the Knights: Oakdale lost two of its best player’s mid-season to behavioral issues.

The Knights are experienced, talented and hungry heading into the sectional semifinals. You couldn’t ask for anything more.