Cosgrove's record match sparks soccer Hornets to tournament title

Senior has six goals vs. Mexico as CHS goes 3-0 last weekend

As reported to C-T
Ignited by a team-record-shattering scoring effort by senior Drake Cosgrove (27) in the opening round Friday night, the Chillicothe High School soccer Hornets grabbed the crown in the Spartans Invitational tournament hosted by Moberly last weekend.

MOBERLY — Ignited by a team-record-shattering scoring effort by senior Drake Cosgrove (27) in the opening round Friday night, the Chillicothe High School soccer Hornets grabbed the crown in the Spartans Invitational tournament hosted by Moberly last weekend.

Forward Cosgrove, who, the C-T learned during last weekend, as a fledgling booter about 10-12 years ago got some early encouragement and instruction from the player who would become CHS’ single-season goal-scoring record-holder a couple of years later – Jon Kline, last Friday night splattered the single-game goals record Kline and seven others (including Cosgrove earlier this year) shared by pumping in all of the Hornets goals in a seesaw 6-5 victory over Mexico to start CHS’ play in the 4-teams, round-robin Spartans Invitational tournament.

Having claimed what Hornets veteran head coach Tim Cunningham characterized as “a free-flowing match between two really-talented teams.”  Chillicothe went on to subdue host Moberly 4-1 and Kirksville 2-1 Saturday morning to capture the tourney title.

“An incredible weekend of soccer and team bonding,” gushed the oft-understated Cunningham. “The number of players contributing to the championship is too many to count.

“A tip of the cap to the entire team!”

The trifecta of triumphs not only brought CHS the tourney’s championship hardware, but also jumped their season record back over .500 at 5-3.

After a scheduled non-Midland Empire Conference match Tuesday at St. Joseph: Benton, the Chillicothe boys’ squad is to visit Savannah for MEC action Thursday.

Last weekend’s competition at Moberly got off to a promising start when 4-years starter Cosgrove found the net off assists from senior attacking midfielder Chace Corbin twice in less than two minutes. Before 16 minutes had elapsed, Chillicothe possessed a 2-nil lead.

With senior goalkeeper Jaxon Albertson back between the pipes after missing two matches earlier in the week after a very physical battle with Maryville, the quick-succession Cosgrove goals which boosted the forward into double digits for the season offered the potential for CHS already having enough scoring to win the match. That thought perished almost as quickly as it developed.

Not yet 10 minutes after Cosgrove’s second tally, Mexico Bulldog Dominique McKeown beat Albertson to halve the lead. Less than two minutes after that, he erased it completely, finding the range again in the 27th minute to put the teams back level again, this time at 2-2.

With Cosgrove already having a pair of “hat trick” (three goals scored) matches this fall and upwards of 50 minutes of regulation-play time remaining, it wasn’t a shock that the Hornet would find the net once more. When he did, it came amid dramatic circumstances.

The final 10 minutes of the first half and first 10 of the second drained off the clock with no more scoring, but that was only setting the stage for a frantic and frenetic final 30.

In the 11th minute of the second half, Mexico’s Hogan Frazier undid the 2-2 knot and, about a minute later, McKeown completed his own “hat trick” to make it four MHS goals in a row and a 4-2 Bulldogs advantage.

Whether the Hornets stepped up their game or Mexico relaxed a bit after claiming the 2-goals advantage, the Bulldogs’ lead didn’t last five minutes.

In the 55th minute – about three minutes after MHS secured its 4-2 advantage, Cosgrove again found the net off Corbin’s setup.

Then, in the next minute, the 12th graders replicated their first-half fireworks with CHS goals in consecutive minutes, the midfielder earning his fourth assist of the evening and seventh of the season while Cosgrove tied the team record for goals in a match with his fourth of the contest in the 55th minute.

The single-match mark first was done by original Hornets star Jacob Rockhold in the Chillicothe program’s first year of existence (2007) and equaled by him the next year. Since then, Kline had turned the trick-plus-1 twice himself in ’13 and ’14 after Steven Cooper had done it in 2010 and Connor Ruoff in 2011. A 5-years gap after Kline’s second time ended two seasons ago when Mason Baxter tallied four times. Cosgrove and Corbin then fired home four each in this season’s opening victory over Cameron.

With the 56th-minute goal by the Hornets, the match was back to even at 4-4. When the tie was broken, naturally enough, it was by Cosgrove with a CHS record-breaker.

In the 66th minute, a foul was called on the Bulldogs inside their penalty area and Cosgrove was sent to “the spot” right in front of the MHS goal. As expected, the red-hot senior ripped the net cords, taking the team record all to himself.

However, he was not finished yet.

A couple of minutes later, a Bulldogs foul outside its “18” gave Chillicothe a direct free kick and Cunningham understandably went with the hot foot of Cosgrove to take it.

Already the team’s designee to take most corner kicks from essentially the same distance – just a different angle. With a clearer look at the net, the Hornets senior bent his kick past the defensive “wall” about 10 yards away and slipped it past the Mexico goalkeeper for his sixth goal of the night and another 2-goals lead for Chillicothe.

This time, it held – barely.

As the match moved into its final eight minutes of regulation time, Mexico’s Frazier scored for the second time, reducing the CHS lead to 6-5.

Perhaps against the odds, that’s where the score remained as Albertson battened down the hatches to complete a 10-saves performance in his return to action.

“Coming back from a 2-goals second-half deficit showed a lot of character and determination from our guys,” complimented Cunningham.

Bright and early Saturday morning, Chillicothe was right back at it against the home team.

Both sides’ defenses apparently set their alarm clock times wrong as three goals found their way into the nets within the first 12 minutes.

Corbin took a penalty kick in the third minute and burled it for his seventh goal of 2021. After the Spartans’ Chris Coonce got the tying tally three minutes later, Cosgrove again provided Chillicothe with what turned into the match-winner, finishing off a setup by midfielder Wyatt Brandsgaard in the 12th minute.

The goal, which surprising turned out to be Cosgrove’s last of the day, left him with 15 for the season to date, just over halfway to Kline’s single-season record of 29 with still nearly two-third of the season left to be played.

To be on the safe side, the Hornets continued to score while snuffing out Moberly’s attack.

While Albertson was picking up another 10 saves the rest of the way, Corbin struck again for his eighth in the 34th minute for a 3-1 CHS halftime margin. Late in the second half, junior Sam Reeter, the team leader in assists, got to a Cosgrove corner kick and knocked it home for his first goal of the season on Cosgrove’s second assist.

“Easily the most complete match we have played all year against a veteran and skilled Moberly team,” summarized Cunningham. “Our attack was on point all match and our defense was more than solid against Moberly’s explosive attack.”

Now in position to take the tourney title outright with a win over Kirksville, Chillicothe rediscovered its stingier side, holding Kirksville to a single Max Walker goal, although it came fairly early (10th minute) and was the only tally of the first half.

Corbin drew the Hornets even in the second minute of the second half, capitalizing on junior Brandsgaard’s third assist of the tournament and season.

It seemed the match was going to require overtime as it wound down into the second half’s last five minutes still deadlocked.

However, with less than a minute to go, sophomore Jacob Adams got to a ball played by S. Reeter and fired it past Kirksville’s crestfallen ’keeper for Ja. Adams’ first-ever goal.

“A tip of the cap to Jacob with his first varsity goal, a tournament-championship game-winner,” reacted Cunningham.

After routinely seeing the remaining seconds go off the clock, Chillicothe had advanced its season record to 5-3 and earned the tourney crown. Albertson was needed to make eight saves in the finale.

“Simply a grind,” the Hornets’ coach declared. “Our third match in 17 hours proved to be a real challenge for both teams.  Our guys played with a lot of toughness and grit.”

Moberly defeated both Kirksville and Mexico handily to capture second place, Cunningham noted.

With his seven goals on the day, Cosgrove nearly doubled his 2021 total to 15. Kline posted a CHS record 29 as a junior in 2013 and Cosgrove’s teammate his three previous seasons – Baxter – pumped in 26 as a junior, as well, in 2019.

Four other former Hornets scored 20 or more in a season.