The late summer heat has passed, making athletes less worried about and less likely to endure cramps.
Jaeden Smith can't shake the problem.
Smith, a junior forward on the Quincy High School boys soccer team, dealt with cramps in both legs again Thursday night. He twice left the field in the second half against Quincy Notre Dame -- once because he cramped up on the field and had to be helped by a trainer and the other when he was subbed out by QHS coach Ron Bridal after it was obvious he was limping -- and had to be taken out yet again 69 seconds into the first overtime.
Smith returned at the start of the second overtime and scored the game-winning goal 64 seconds later, giving the Blue Devils a 4-3 victory. However, there are lingering concerns that he continues to develop cramps.
"I talked to Dr. (George) Crickard and (athletic trainer Gary Hackmann) about it and they are going to help me out," Smith said. "Just going harder in practice is going to help me get ready for game night, too."
Despite the cramps, Smith has put together a stellar first eight games. He has 13 goals, three hat tricks and four game-winning goals.
Yet, Thursday night might have been his marquee moment.
"That's what players do," Bridal said. "They step up at big times and make big plays. That's what he did tonight."
Making opponents pay the price
Quincy Notre Dame has a penchant for making mistakes hurt. Quincy High School learned that the hard way.
Trailing twice by two goals Thursday night, the Raiders took advantage of restarts and throw-ins to battle back to end regulation tied at 3 and force two 10-minute, golden-goal extra sessions.
QND's first goal -- a header by Macker Little -- came off a ball flighted into the box by Peyton Stegeman, but the final two goals were the direct result of being able to regroup and set up an attack. A foul on QHS's Nolan Nuttelman in the 77th minute allowed Mitchell Murphy to flick the ball into the penalty area on a restart, and Sam Nudo collected the loose ball and pushed it into the net to make it a 3-2 game.
Less than 90 seconds later, Murphy launched a long throw-in from the left sideline that QHS was unable to clear and Seth Anderson collected high in the box and drilled his shot into the net to tie the game with 2:17 remaining in regulation.
"We've become pretty dangerous on restarts," QND coach Greg Reis said. "If we get a ball, whether it's a long throw-in or a corner kick, I like our chances. We proved that tonight. We've proved that all season. We just have to do a better job in the flow of the game."
Johnnys on the spot
As picturesque as the Blue Devils' final two goals were, the first two were a matter of being johnny on the spot.
Jack Bartley and Harrison Rosen put themselves in position to be that guy.
In the 15th minute, QHS's Grant Higgins flighted a restart from midfield toward the goal that Robby Phillips won in the air and flicked toward the goal. QND was neither able to cover it or clear it, and Bartley pounced on a loose ball sitting in the box and punched it in for the 1-0 advantage.
Sixteen minutes into the second half, Rosen took his opportunity. QHS's Alex Watson sent a ball into the box that ricocheted off a QND defender. Rosen stepped into the ball and poked it past QND goalkeeper Griffin Kirn for a 2-0 lead.
Getting everyone involved
This is the third straight game in the crosstown rivalry in which four or more goals were scored. However, it's the first time in that stretch and possibly the first time in a long time where seven goals were scored by seven different players. Archived information is incomplete on which players have scored in every QHS-QND meeting since the programs were introduced in 1974, but in last year's 4-2 QHS victory, Drew Chisholm had a hat trick for the Blue Devils.