Senior Braylee Childers steps up to lead Jaguars past rival Wildcats in Sheridan Cup
When Blue Springs South sophomore forward Avery Albin went down with a season-ending ACL injury three games into the season, the Jaguars had to find different players to score.
After all, Albin is one of the most talented offensive players on the team. During Thursday's annual Sheridan Cup game against crosstown rival Blue Springs, it was senior midfielder Braylee Childers who stepped up on offense for the Jaguars.
She scored two goals, including the go-ahead score in the 74th minute, to help her Jaguars edge the visiting Wildcats 2-1.
“Our team has really adapted and adjusted to losing a player,” Childers said. “We’re all fighting to get to her level.
“We lost our composure, but we did a good job getting it back. We played as a team instead of individually.”
Childers rainbowed a shot over Blue Springs goalkeeper Gabby Elliott off an assist from freshman midfielder Gwen Maggard to give the Jaguars a 1-0 lead, a score that held until halftime.
Her second goal came when the game was tied at 1 apiece. She hit a perfectly placed shot from 30 yards out that just went off the crossbar and off the fingertips of a leaping Elliott.
“I was just looking for my opportunity and I knew there were only a few minutes left,” Childers said. “I just went for it.”
And it was head coach Todd Findley who asked Childers to take on more of a scoring role Thursday.
“She’s playing a little out of position. She’s truly a holding midfielder and she’s great at it,” Findley said. “Due to some injuries, I asked her to push up a little bit and be a little more attacking minded and she did great.”
South (5-4, 2-4 Suburban Big Eight) controlled possession throughout and had more opportunities to score but had trouble finishing shots, which helped keep the game close.
“I am super proud of our possession and our passing game,” Findley said. “We fought through some injuries, but the girls did a great job of letting the ball work and I love that part of it. The attacking third was a bit of an issue for us. Our captain Braylee Childers stepped up and got a couple of goals for us.”
Blue Springs (1-7, 0-6) mounted more chances in the second half than it did the first. Sophomore midfielder Cadence Cowick sent a corner kick to freshman forward Caitlin Lagemann, who put in a point-blank shot in the 56th minute to tie it.
“To only be down one goal at halftime against a quality team like South and to tie the game in the second half with eight freshmen on the field, I am ecstatic,” said Blue Springs girls assistant coach Mike Palermo, filling in for head coach Shannon Cunningham, who is on maternity leave.
“In the first half, I didn’t think we came out with very much intensity. But we turned that around, challenged every goal and competed in the second half. We made a game of it. I am proud of the girls for that.”
But disaster struck for the Wildcats with about 15 minutes remaining when freshman forward Ella Rowley went down with a leg injury, forcing her to miss the rest of the contest.
“It’s really unfortunate,” Palermo said. “We were down to one or two subs. That was 90 percent of our offense right there, so let’s hope she’s OK.”