CUMBERLAND GAP — Bipolar.
That’s the way Scott High Coach Eric Henry described his team after a 6-2 loss to Cumberland Gap Monday evening.
Henry had been extremely displeased with his team’s effort at Kingston two weeks earlier, a game that saw the Lady Highlanders mercy-ruled for the first time in program history. But, last week, Scott High competed much better in a critical district match against Anderson County, taking the Mavericks to the wire at John John Yancey Memorial Park.
“I never know which team is going to get off the bus,” Henry said after his team’s lopsided loss to Cumberland Gap.
To be fair, the Panthers are coming off a state tournament appearance in 2020, and brought almost everyone back from that team — which battled from behind to pick up a narrow win in Huntsville last season.
But Scott High suffered multiple defensive breakdowns and showed lackluster effort in the middle of the field that had Henry angry before the game had hardly gotten started.
At one point, when Cumberland Gap was awarded a score despite a player being offside, Henry seemed to yell at both his team and the referee simultaneously.
“There’s no way she wasn’t offside because my defense is just standing still and making no effort,” he said.
Henry’s mood hadn’t improved after the game.
“The first 20 minutes, I think I mentioned to the personnel on the sideline that all of the defenders were trying to see who could get their head furthest up their hind-end,” he said.
“Gap’s good. They pass well, they control the ball well,” he added. “Our control touches are pretty much like if you and I were kicking the ball off the side of the building. The way it comes off the building is the way we control touch it.”
Henry said that his team “obviously didn’t come ready to play,” despite having a Sunday afternoon practice to try to loosen up.
Nevertheless, Scott High only trailed 4-2 at halftime, and the score would have been 3-2 if the official had correctly called the offside violation.
The Lady Highlanders picked up two goals off set plays in the first half, one coming off a long kick by Olivia Rector and the other coming on a header by Mikayla Higginbotham off a Rector corner kick.
Cumberland Gap put two more scores on the board in the second half before Henry emptied his bench.
The Panthers chose not to follow suit, playing their starters for the remainder of the game. However, they were unable to add another goal.