By Anthony Jones
Debuting a new sports field always makes for a memorable season in the world of sports. That was different this year at Triad High School as they broke in their new turf field, although the opening of a new field was only part of why the seasons will stand out in school history.
The Knights competed in three sports on the field during the spring and summer: football, boys soccer, and girls soccer. Those three teams combined for an incredible 24-2 record when playing on their recently installed field. A large share of those wins came in Mississippi Valley Conference play, as they combined for a 15-0 record against conference opponents.
The impressive stats from the first year on the turf don’t end there. Three games went to overtime across the three sports, with the Knights emerging victorious in all of them. This included a Triad 21-0 fourth quarter comeback over Highland in football, their first home victory over the Bulldogs in the sport since 2015.
Despite limited postseasons during the 2020-2021 school year, Triad also managed to claim a handful of playoff wins on the artificial field. In girls soccer, Triad racked up four postseason wins at home, including their Regional and Sectional title matches. The aforementioned Triad victory against Highland in football also came during postseason play, kickstarting the home team’s 5-0 playoff record on the turf.
One area of Triad’s new field that has not been broken in much is the Knight’s end zone and goal. Opposing teams have struggled to score so far on the new field, with Triad recording a shutout in eighteen of their twenty six games on it. Girls soccer supplied eleven of these shutouts, boys soccer brought five, and football posted two shutouts.
Coming in boys soccer, the two losses Triad endured on their new pitch both came via a one goal deficit. These losses both came early during the spring season, with Triad’s last loss on their turf coming on March 27, well over 100 days ago. Triad’s athletic teams have combined for nineteen consecutive wins on the artificial surface since then.
Leading the way in wins on the turf so far has been the Lady Knights soccer squad. The team compiled a 13-0 record on their new home field, including eight wins over conference wins. Two of their closest games of their undefeated season came at home, which were their double overtime 1-0 win over Waterloo and their only comeback of the season when they defeated Columbia 2-1 after going to penalty kicks.
Wins on their home field was also key to the squad’s eight postseason wins that culminated in their IHSA State Championship win during their summer season. Five of their postseason victories came at home, where they outscored their opponents 20-0. The Lady Knights also won their IHSA Regional and Sectional title games at home.
The honors of playing the first game on the turf field went to the boys soccer team on May 10. Jake Ellis scored the first ever point on the field, putting Triad up 1-0 early in the first half and Tobey Suter would later score to put the team up 2-0. Disaster then struck as the Knights surrendered three goals in the final nineteen minutes of action, ultimately losing their home opener 3-2.
Despite losing their first game on the turf, the Knights rebounded and dominated at home through the rest of the season. They finished 8-2 overall at home, with their only other loss coming in a 1-0 affair against the Collinsville Kahoks. Throughout their season, they racked up 5 shutouts and 5 conference wins at home.
With only a six game season, Triad’s football team only saw action on their new field three times this year. But that did not stop them from racking up several accomplishments and highlights during their first campaign on the field.
Their first game on the new surface came as a March 19 battle with the Collinsville Kahoks. The two battled to halftime in a scoreless affair, but a Sam Yager punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter sparked Triad’s offense as they went on to win 21-0. Another shutout win thanks to a big touchdown by Yager came in week three as the Knights knocked off Mascoutah 6-0 in a defensive struggle.
The third and final home game for the football squad was their biggest yet as they faced a revenge hungry Highland Bulldog team in the MVC Bowl Series semifinals round. Triad looked ripe to lose their third game on the field as they trailed 21-0 with ten minutes to play, but the team suddenly caught fire and won 35-29 in double overtime.