On a raw, drizzly Thursday afternoon, Plumstead Christian Panther cubs flexed their fangs.
Five underclassmen scored in a 7-0 rout of short-handed Morrisville.
“We wanted to give our freshman some experience,” said Plumstead Christian coach Seth Mangum. “We had some separate goals besides winning the game, such as setting some people up who haven’t played a lot. I think our guys were pretty unselfish in trying to meet some of those other goals.”
Sophomore Micah Bell, freshman Jonathan Michael and senior co-captain Peyton Link all scored in the first eight minutes, spotting Plumstead a 3-0 lead. At that point, Mangum started to empty his bench.
“We play a lot of 1-2 touch soccer where we try and possess in the back and find the strikers up top,” Link shared.
Freshman Dylan Masterson, the player of the game, headed in a corner kick in the 28th minute for the Panthers’ fourth goal.
“Dylan did a great job at center-mid,” Mangum lauded. “He’s played a little of that this season but he dominated that part of the field today.”
Freshman Brayden Burry scored on a great shot from the left wing 12 minutes later. Alex Read’s goal in the 38th minute made it 6-0 Plumstead at halftime.
The Panthers played Morrisville at even strength in the second half. Freshman Ryan Jacobs scored late in the game for the final goal.
The game gave Mangum a chance to work in his many young players. Plumstead has just four upperclassmen.
“It’s almost like being the dad on the team,” Link laughed. “A lot of the young guys play travel soccer so they came into the preseason very fit. They’re progressing really well. We treat them like family. We’re making an effort off the field and we’re reaping the benefits. The chemistry is at its peak right now.”
“It’s fun. We’ve been part of the team for so long and we get to teach the younger kids what the brotherhood is all about,” added co-captain Matt Luther.
Mangum is in his second year at the Panthers’ helm. “One of the things I realized this season is to ask for more help,” Mangum admitted. “Like asking the captains to step up and take a little bit more of the leadership role. In the first year, you are trying to make your mark and I was probably doing a little too much myself. It’s really cool to see how the team has grown up and how the captains are like coaches on the field. That’s what we want.”
Plumstead was 5-9 (3-8 Bicentennial) at press time. It closes the year with three winnable games against Collegium Charter, Phil-Mont Christian and Lincoln Leadership. The Panthers have a good shot of participating in District One Class A tournament play, which starts on Oct. 22.
“This team loves traditions. We talk about the brotherhood and that means more than soccer,” Mangum explained. “It means caring for each other off the field.”
Mangum described how the team has pushed themselves to set, and exceed, personal bests in fitness and drills. The Panthers have a bell, dedicated to a player who has gone through some physical adversity, that they have put up for inspiration. Plumstead gets to ring the bell when it hits those milestones.
“We play hard the whole 80 minutes. Just as important, we play for God while on the field,” Luther concluded. “We encourage each other and I think that’s the one thing that shows that we’re a family.”