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Century Honors Graduates Killed in Combat
Before Wednesday's match, Century girls soccer remembered two fallen soldiers on 9/11 anniversary
Published: 9/12/2019 2:34:36 PM

The Century girls soccer team honored two fallen soldiers before its game against Jerome Wednesday, the 18th anniversary of 9/11. 

The Diamondbacks invited the families of Blake Stephens and Nicholas Gummersall, who both died while serving overseas in 2007. Stephens and Gummersall graduated from Century High School in 2000 and 2002, respectively. 

“For me, today is about remembering Blake,” said Kathleen Stephens, Blake Stephens's mother. “Blake loved life. He was in sports and he loved people.”

Stephanie Shutes and Vickie Muir coordinated the ceremony, arranging for the fire department to attend and Veterans Affairs to provide the flags and plaques presented to the families. 

“Knowing that we had a game on Sept. 11, it was a great opportunity to honor them and their families,” Stephanie Shuts said.

The ceremony consisted of a moment of silence, three-volley salute, taps and the presentation of the plaques. 

“For us, it’s a big deal,” said Century Head Coach Matt Shutes. “This is something we wanted to do. I work for the police department, so I’ve been pretty involved with a lot of that stuff for a long time now.”

After the ceremony, the match between Century and Jerome kicked off, with the Diamondbacks winning 2-1 on a last-second goal.

Midway through the first half, Century was awarded a penalty kick, setting up a goal by freshman Kyleigh Gardea. Toward the end of the first half, Jerome tied the score with a goal of their own off a header from a corner kick. 

The second half went scoreless until the Diamondbacks were awarded another penalty kick with 11 seconds left in the game. The penalty kick was saved by Tiger goalkeeper Hannah Schvaneveldt, but the ball was immediately rebounded and shot into the back of the net by Allison McKinlay, giving Century the game-winning goal.

“There were some things we did well,” Shutes said. “We controlled possession. We played most of the game in their end of the field. We just didn’t generate opportunities to score that you would think comes with that much possession.” 


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