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Throughout the 2010 season, Anderson County had risen to the occasion.
Three times the Bearcats had played ranked teams and won. They had received consideration for a Top 25 ranking, nearly cracking that elite group in the final statewide poll of the season.
They would trade all of it for two more goals last Thursday night.
Franklin County ended the Bearcats' stellar season with a 1-0 win in a heart-stopping District 25 semi-final match played at the Sower Soccer Complex in Frankfort. The game had been postponed from Wednesday because of lightning and thunderstorms.
Franklin's Ryan Sturm connected on a free kick 10 minutes into the second half to send Franklin to the championship game, where the Flyers dropped a 1-0 decision to Woodford County.
It was the second consecutive season in which Franklin has eliminated the Bearcats in the district semi-finals.
When the teams had battled to t a 3-3 deadlock earlier in the season, both felt they had let one slip away. Thursday, however, the third-seeded Flyers were able to convert on Anderson's foul, then held on to advance to this week's regional tournament.
Neither team was able to generate much offense for open looks at the net, Anderson coach Brett Morris said.
Anderson, which finished 13-8-1 and had been seeded second, did get a good look inside the final two minutes, but when Steven Pulcifer headed Jayson Barnes' pass, he just missed.
Morris offered no excuses.
“We didn't play well enough to win and that is all that matters,” he said. “We got outplayed and I got outcoached.”
It was not supposed to end so quickly. While the Bearcats were not considered a regional favorite in the polls, their track record suggested they belonged in the mix and had a shot. That reality made a one-game post-season even more difficult to accept in the Bearcat camp.
“I don't remember what I said after the game, but no words could take the sting out of that loss,” Morris said.
Anderson players Jared Stephens and Hunter Martin were named to the All-District Tournament team.
E-mail John Herndon at firstname.lastname@example.org.