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Trojans finish area play unbeaten

For the first time in school history, the Charles Henderson soccer team has finished undefeated in area play.

The Trojans defeated Eufaula 4-2 Thursday, sealing the perfect area season.

“It’s the first time ever in school history we’ve been undefeated in area play, so I’m very proud of them for that,” said CHHS head coach Olaf Lieb.

Michael Salmon started the scoring in the 15th minute before Eufaula tied the game in the 21st minute with a goal of its own.

The game remained tied until the 35th minute, when the Trojans’ Lloyd Shillabeer took over the game.

Shillabeer scored in the 35th and 43rd minutes to give CHHS a 3-1 lead.

The Tigers cut the lead to 3-2 in the 57th minute before Shillabeer closed the door on Eufaula in the 78th minute with his third goal of the game to pick up the hat trick.

While the win marked a huge accomplishment for the Trojans, the accomplishment did not come without its share of sadness.

Salmon suffered a broken leg in the game, and is likely done for the rest of the season.

“The unfortunate thing is that we have probably lost Michael,” Lieb said. “He’s been our leading goal scorer this year, so it’s hard to replace him at this point in the season. But, I’ll come up with something. Obviously, I can’t say what it is because I don’t want opposing teams to read what I am going to do in the newspaper.”

While the area schedule is now over, the Trojans will play two more games between now and April 27, which is when the playoffs begin.

“They’ll be practice games,” Lieb said. “They’ll be games for me to try out different things. I don’t always necessarily look as a win as being when we are ahead on the scoreboard at the end of the game. I look at a win as when our players accomplish something they hadn’t accomplished before, and that’s what we’ll use these last two games to do.”

Lieb also said he will use the final few weeks to work on some strategic elements of the Trojans’ attack.

“What we’ll focus on is tightening up our defense, as well as maybe trying some new midfield strategies,” Lieb said.

With the playoffs assured and a home game wrapped up, Lieb said he feels the Trojans are ready for a deep playoff run.

“We’ll just try to get prepared for the next level,” Lieb said. “They came this far last year, and we’re hoping to go even farther this year. I really think because of their mentality, they’ll get farther than they have been before.”