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The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

District battle

Millard West falls in District A-5 finals
Nathan Delaney
Senior captain goalkeeper Gabe Griffiths has led the team all year. He finished the season allowing less than a goal a game leading the team to a 13 win season.

After a hard fought tough but successful regular season the 12-4 Wildcats found themselves hosting District A-5, having to play against the winner of Westview vs Benson in the first round and the winner of Columbus vs Kearney in the district championship. 

Benson would take down Westview 5-2 to advance to the District semifinals and play Millard West. 

The Wildcats would strike early as Diego Zapata would find Carson Hutteger across the front of the goal who would put it in the back of the net and give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead, with 11 minutes left till halftime. 

The first half scoring wouldn’t stop there as Zapata would grab another assist setting up Zahir Azizi for a goal. To widen the Wildcats lead to 2-0, at halftime. 

“Our team developed camaraderie and strong accountability, so we knew the expectations and we worked as a team to achieve those,” Cole Grandgenett said. “In districts, we had a great seeding and we were riding high after our major winning streak. We used the confidence we had to propel us through district semifinals..”

Coming out of the locker room Benson would strike first and cut the lead down to 2-1, with 27 minutes left in the game. 

Zapata would grab his third assist of the game, setting up Roman DiDomenico for a goal and increasing the lead to 3-1, with 12 minutes left in the game. 

DiDomenico would get a red card shortly after meaning he was sent off for not only the rest of this game but also the entire next game. 

Zapata would finally get a goal for himself to seal Millard West the 4-1 victory and advance them to the District finals. 

Columbus would take down Kearney 1-0 and would travel to Millard West to play in the district finals with a spot in the state tournament on the line. 

“We just needed to play our game and not give into there’s,” Senior captain goalkeeper Gabe Griffiths said. “Make sure we are controlling the ball well and controlling the game.”

This game would start out slow as both teams were trying to feel each other out. Millard West would get some solid attacks and shots by Brennan Tubaugh and Carter Guthrie but none of them would score. On the other hand Columbus would get scoring chances of their own but Griffiths would deny multiple shots and take the game to 0-0 at halftime. 

The beginning of the second half would be more of the same until Columbus’s Marcus  Beltran got a solo shot off and scored to give Columbus an 1-0 lead with about 15 minutes left. 

Millard West would try to attack in the last minutes of the game but were unsuccessful in attempting to score and Columbus would take the victory 1-0. 

“Although it may seem like the potential we had was wasted due to the loss in districts, we need to look past that and look at a season as a whole, one that was better than the past 4 years,” Grandgenett said. “We built a foundation that will keep us in close contest with teams we face next year. We built a foundation for a legacy program.”

Well Millard West season would end there this season was critical for Millard West rebuilding the program. This year would be their first year since 2021 that Millard West would have a winning record and the first time since 2017 they would have a 13 win season

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About the Contributor
Nathan Delaney
Nathan Delaney, Staff Reporter
Nathan is a senior at Millard West and this is his second year on the CATalyst staff. He is taking Advanced Journalism, Broadcast Journalism and Yearbook this year. This summer he went to multiple journalism camps and went on a family vacation to Alaska. He also worked with the President of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association, Jim Timm, on the High School Radio Project. He is looking forward to expanding to new parts of journalism and furthering his skills this year.

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