With a 3-0 lead and a player advantage over West Johnston in the championship game of the Four Oaks Bank Cup on March 1, it would have easy for Clayton’s girls soccer team to let up a bit.
Instead, the Comets buckled down. The defense stayed tight, and the midfield players called out markers and suggested touches and passes.
Clayton added another goal to take a 4-0 win, all in the quest to become “Greater.”
On the wrist of coach Brian Stevens and his players is a blue and white bracelet with the word “Greater,” which is from the 2016 film about former Arkansas football player Brandon Burlsworth, who went from walk-on to NFL draftee.
“This team is embracing the fact that the team is greater than any one individual,” Stevens said. “So, they’re pumping each other up and working each other harder to make it a greater season. ... At halftime, they took over. Because they wanted more, and they didn’t want to let down. So it made it easier on the coach.”
The slogan has somewhat of a double meaning.
Clayton, off to a 5-1 start to the season, is also the reigning Greater Neuse River Conference champion.
With about 10 minutes left and the match in hand, Stevens pulled midfielder Emery Biggs from the field.
The junior midfielder, who finished the night with three assists en route to being named the tournament’s Offensive Most Valuable Player, stood two yards from the touchline, water bottle in hand, shouting instructions to her teammates.
“That’s exactly what I’m hoping will happen this season,” Stevens said. “Everyone is there to support one another. … That’s how we’ll make it through the season and hopefully make a good run in the playoffs.”
Janelle Reid leads the team with seven goals. Holland Mills has six goals and four assists.