The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 24, 2012

Vikings make playoffs 12th straight year after 5-1 win over Jaguars

Sports Correspondent
Van Holland

TARBORO — There was a lot of excitement on the Tarboro Vikings side line late in the match Tuesday night at Indian Lake Sports Complex during the Vikings final home match against the Farmville Central Jaguars. Tarboro routed the Jaguars 5-1 in their Eastern Plains Conference finale.

"We player well and I was real happy with the win," Vikings head coach Leshaun Jenkins said. "We lucked up and got to play a season finale at home and the seniors got one more match on their home field and were able to win."

The season isn't what Jenkins expected, because he is used to winning conference titles or tournaments. There wasn't a conference tournament this year because of scheduling conflicts, but he and his team will take what comes their way.

The Vikings finish the season with a 7-5-3 overall record and it is the twelfth straight season that Jenkins has guided his team to winning season. It will also be the twelfth straight year he has guided his team to the playoffs during his stint coaching Tarboro.

Jenkins said all of these accomplishments are remarkable in his opinion. He is excited about the playoffs and will begin working on that journey today.

All of the Vikings starters were cheering on the subs who got about 12 minutes of playing time. They do not get much playing time during the season, but they are the players who make the starters better each and every day at practice.

"These guys come out and work hard every day in practice and it is good that they get playing time like this," Jenkins said. "I am glad everyone got a chance to play and we all had a good time."

The Farmville Central coach told Jenkins before the match that he was going to only start 10 players because that is all he had at practice Monday.

The Vikings took advantage of that early in the match. It took Tarboro about four minutes to get used to the Jaguars defense, because they were pushed up to midfield and the Vikings had four offsides calls against them, but Jenkins told his team to adjust.

They did adjust and used it to their advantage. They took advantage of their speed up front as well, because he told his midfielders to one touch the ball and send it over the top so they could get break away opportunities.

With only six minutes expired in the match, Tyler Harris received a ball over the top and beat the last Jaguar defender and blasted a shot past the Jaguars goalie to give Tarboro a 1-0 lead.

Three minutes later, Will Dupree used a two on one opportunity and kept the ball himself and punched it in past the goalie to give Tarboro a 2-0 lead. Dupree missed the same chance just a minute before that and Jenkins told him to make good decisions.

Four minutes later, David Guevara took a shot on goal and it was deflected by the Jaguars goalie, but Harris was there for the rebound and scored his second goal of the match to give Tarboro a 3-0 lead.

Joey Lancaster scored the Vikings fourth goal of the first half when he had a one on one chance with the Jaguars goalie. He dribbled to his right and flipped the ball over the goalies head.

Tarboro's fifth goal of the match came with 25 minutes left in the match when the Jaguars goalie came out to defend a Vikings defender one on one and tripped the player on purpose as he tried to go around him. The goalie received a red card and was ejected from the match, which gave Tarboro a free penalty kick. Travis Martin took the penalty kick and blew it past the goalie to give Tarboro a 5-0 lead.

The Jaguars loan goal came with two minutes left in the match, when they scored on a direct kick from 40 yards out when the ball drifted over Martin's extended hands.

Tarboro outshot the Jaguars 24-18.

Tarboro will wait and see who they have to travel and play in the first round of the NCHSAA state playoffs when the brackets are released Thursday.

Jenkins said the whole season prepares them for the playoffs and they will not try and re-invent the wheel and they will do what works for them.

He is going to work on cutting down on the mental mistakes, but that is due to youth he has a certain positions on the field.

"We are excited about making the playoffs," Jenkins said. "That is just a testament to the dedication of the players I have in this program. These guys put in a lot of time and effort to make our program what it is. It just makes it worth the while."