Beaufort boys soccer reflective after championship loss

Beaufort boys soccer coach Terry Rawlins got a little emotional when reflecting on the team’s journey this season.

That journey resulted in the Eagles’ first state championship appearance. Daniel High defeated Beaufort in the Class 3A Championship match at Irmo High School on Saturday with a strong performance during the first half.

“I had some dedicated seniors and right now they are feeling the emotions that this is the last time they are going to pick up a soccer ball,” Rawlins said. “And right now, I’m looking at their faces now and trying to hold it in myself. I’ve been friends with some of these guys since they were in 8th grade. Everyone is feeling the same emotion. They realize the season is over.”

It’s going to be a season the school and program won’t forget. The Eagles’ roster, which included 12 seniors, 11 juniors and a few others, won 15 games, the most since 2015.

Beaufort came into the championship with a 12-match win streak and was coming off of a thrilling penalty kicks victory over Waccamaw on Tuesday in Lower State Championship.

“This was a journey,” Rawlins said. “We had to get the guys believing that we could get the guys playing a certain way. When they began to believe that, then the journey started and we are where we are now.

“We came up a little bit short, but we were still here.”

The Eagles got behind early and then couldn’t capitalize on some good chances in the second half.

Luke Gasic, Eddie Merck, and Kenneth Walton Flores scored for Daniel. The team led 3-0 by halftime.

This was Daniel’s third-straight championship appearance. The Lions were defeated by Brookland Cayce in 2021, but returned to defeat the Bearcats on penalties in a 2022 match.

Daniel had to replace several players from last year’s team and added a new coach in Thomas Izaguirre, who replaced Philip Boyer after he left the program to pursue international opportunities.

Izaguirre served as Daniel’s assistant for the past two years. He showed a lot of emotion after the match, holding the trophy in the air with his players as they ran over to the school’s student section.

“Everybody was screaming and everyone was hugging,” Izaguirre said. “But this feels amazing. We made it.”

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