On Tuesday, the Chanute Blue Comets took on the Pittsburg Purple Dragons. They played through two overtimes and ended up with a 1-1 tie. Pittsburg’s goal was scored by junior Shane Baeza. The Comets got their goal off the foot of junior Kaleb Becannon, who tied Gregory Lopez for most goals this season for Chanute.
“A lot of things went really really well tonight. I know it seems like a couple weeks ago I was like ‘everything went bad’ today’s more like everything went really well,” Chanute’s head coach Adam Wilcox said.
As you would expect with that final score, this was a closely fought context. Becannon was able to get his goal on a pretty long shot in the 19th minute. In the 31st minute, Baeza made his shot. Nobody scored for the next 69 minutes of play and the game ended 1-1.
One major change Wilcox had made was reworking his back line. With Jacob Guernsey out with a groin injury, he moved senior Lawson Collins to the back.
“So I dropped [Collins] back during our super injured period, where I just needed somebody I could trust on the backline with speed and Lawson was the only guy for the job. He’s been with me for three years, Varsity returner, one of the few we have. He’s fast, he can read balls, and it’s just a good place for him,” Wilcox said, “Then I could put Hayden [Newton] and Grayson [Burchett] out wide, which is more natural for them than putting one in the middle anyways. [Collins] has been a huge help, his touch is nice, after he wins a ball, he can take a touch and it’s not gonna get away from us so he can take a touch and find Miguel [Ayuso], Stark [Wright], Kaleb, or a wing. Putting him in the back, I think, has helped out our back line a ton.”
This change allowing Grayson to move outside may be the most important factor. He had one of his best games on Tuesday night.
“Grayson Burchett played incredible. He played probably his best game I’ve seen in three years. Just awesome, winning balls aggressively, taking light touches to himself and finding the right people up the line. He played really really really well today.”
The Comets and Dragons have now played 180 minutes of soccer against each other this season. Pittsburg outscored Chanute 2-1 but last season that score was 8-1 in favor of the Dragons. Chanute has improved a lot not only since last season but since the last time they played Pittsburg.
“Our back four is getting strong, our mids are starting to pass together, we’re attacking up the wings. We’ve got to be able to do that very last step and put balls in the goal. We’ve got to find the net. That’s what we’ve been working on,” Wilcox said, “Today Kaleb had a gorgeous goal because he shot from outside, he didn’t want to take it in. That’s not the only way we can do it, we can do it off a cross. That’s the last step and once we do that we’re really really good.”
Chanute’s next game has been changed from hosting Independence to hosting Chanute Christian Academy due to COVID-19.