Pack christens new field with late victory

Published 9:49 am Thursday, October 13, 2022

Seniors Conner Flowers (19) and Luke Brown (3) celebrate the narrow victory on their new field. (Steve Barnes/Washington Daily News)

After waiting seven years to play on a field they could call their own, 78 minutes without a goal didn’t seem all that long to those in attendance for the first match on Washington High School’s brand new soccer pitch.

With extra time only 90 seconds away, Pam Pack sophomore Will Glover fired a 20-yard laser from the right side past the sprawling Farmville Central goalie into the left corner of the net, setting off a wild celebration on the field and in the crowd.

Glover’s thunderous boot goes down in the history books as the first goal scored on the new turf and the deciding tally in a hard-fought 1-0 victory.

“We felt like we had to win this game for all the people who helped build this field,” senior captain Luke Brown said. “This is for the guys in this program who came before us and those who will play here after we are gone. We are grateful and proud to be part of the first game and it means everything to get a win.”

The effort to build a soccer-only facility at WHS started after the Pam Pack lost the 2015 state championship match to Salisbury in Raleigh.

“Coach Kozuch told me after the match that our guys weren’t used to playing on a regulation field,” Roy Parker, whose son Blake was on the team, said. “That was my spark to try to do something. It has taken a team effort from folks from all over the community to make this happen. Dr. Liz Cook and Marcus Jones have worked very hard to see this project through, as have many others. It’s been totally worth it to get to this point.”

The county commissioners bought the approximately seven-acre tract adjacent to the school for $80,000, which started the project.

The latest state budget included $120,00 towards purchasing lights, which allowed the dream to become reality. Nets, goals, sod and a scoreboard pushed the project’s cost to around $400,000 with bleachers still to come.

“We have been talking about a soccer field for it seems like 20 years,” Cook said. “We knocked on doors, talked to the school board, the county commission and the city to make this happen. High school sports are great for kids and it’s very satisfying to see it finally become a reality.”

Kozuch is in his 17th year teaching and coaching at WHS and is glad to have a permanent home for the boys and girls soccer program.

“I’ve been kicked off every field in Beaufort County since I’ve been here,” he quipped. “No more riding around trying to find practice space. I’m so happy we have our own space and we’re very grateful to everybody who helped.”