Brian Killips just couldn't get upset as the final seconds of the season wound down.
Evans High School soccer coach Brian Killips is the 2005 Columbia County News-Times soccer Coach of the Year. He said he expects next season to be great, despite having eight seniors graduating this year.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
It didn't matter that the Evans soccer coach watched as the fifth-ranked Knights lost to eventual state champion Woodward, 3-0, in the semifinals of the Class AAAA state tournament.
Even with the loss, the Knights celebrated the best season in school history.
"It was a special season for Evans High," said Killips, the 2005 Columbia County News-Times soccer Coach of the Year.
"We exceeded the expectations we had for ourselves when the season began. When you exceed your expectations, you can't help but feel that your season was a success."
The Knights (14-6-2) finished with their best record in school history, were the Region 2-AAAA runners-up and were ranked - as high as fourth - for the first time in school history.
Evans, which also made its first appearance in the final four, beat or tied nine state playoff teams, including a win over Class A/AA state champion Aquinas, 3-0, on March 3. The Knights also posted their first win over Lakeside since the 1990s.
"When you look back at what we did this year, all you can do is smile," Killips said. "We had a lot of great games this year. I know these kids gave it everything they had. There is no shame in losing to a team like Woodward."
Senior goalkeeper Joey Ralph says none of the success would have been accomplished without the work of the coaches.
"Coach (Ben) Grayson and coach (Ernst) Cleophat and especially coach Killips were a big reason we went as far as we did," Ralph said. "They were great coaches. They helped us with our game and taught us. But the most important thing was that they were great to be around. They all have great attitudes and that rubs off on you."
Killips said he wanted to enjoy this season for now, but added that he thinks the Knights will be strong in 2006 despite graduating eight seniors, six of whom were starters.
"I'm not really ready to jump into next year quite yet," Killips said. "I enjoyed this year and will miss the seniors. But we have solid players returning next season. We will be a good soccer team."
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