BY PATRICK KELLEY firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — DANVILLE — The Danville Vikings soccer team found the back of the net seven times Monday night en route to a shutout victory over the Bismarck Henning Blue Devils.
But one goal stood out among the rest.
After four different Vikings scored four goals in eight minutes, Danville senior Paul DeArmond was in position to put in Danville’s fifth goal of the night when he was fouled inside the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick at the game’s 66th minute.
The crowd watched on as DeArmond faced Bismarck’s goalie, Jacob Daisy, a mere 12 yards away. DeArmond strode toward the motionless ball, planted his left foot and delivered a forceful blow to the back of the ball, sending it into the right side of the net while the goalie sailed left.
His teammates immediately surrounded him in a congratulatory huddle to celebrate his first-ever high school goal.
“My heart was pounding,” Paul’s father, Craig DeArmond, said about the moments leading up to his son’s first goal. “I was thinking, I know you can do it, buddy. I know you can do it.”
While Craig had absolute confidence in his son’s ability, he had no clue which side Paul would choose, and no one else did either.
“I made it to the right … to the side,” Paul said.
When asked if he chose to go right to follow in the footsteps of a soccer-playing role model, he said. “(Going right) was my own thing.”
Paul said that he has been dreaming of burying his first goal ever since he joined the soccer team.
But he wasn’t the only person who has been waiting for and wanting this moment. Danville head coach, Chris Griffin, has been envisioning Paul’s first goal ever since he first stepped on the pitch four years ago.
When Monday’s game was scheduled against Bismarck-Henning, Griffin knew he would have his chance to orchestrate DeArmond’s offensive assault.
“(Bismarck-Henning) Coach Ryan Reifsteck and I have been friends for quite a long time,” Griffin said. “When this game got scheduled, I said something to him and he was very gracious and offering in allowing this to happen.”
Unfortunately, not everyone who wanted to see DeArmond’s first goal was in attendance.
Teammates from past years who have since graduated and moved on to college, in places as far away as Iowa, wanted to make time to come see their former teammate’s triumph.
Many past players planned on making the trip back to Danville from their respective colleges for the game’s original date last Thursday.
However, the game was rescheduled due to a lack of officials, causing the Danville crowd to be a few patrons thinner to see whom coach Griffin calls a “model citizen.”
“He doesn’t have all of the physical abilities that a lot of the other kids do,” Griffin said about DeArmond. “But there’s no doubt he works harder than anyone else we have on the team. He never complains. He’s never late. He’s never missed a practice. And, he’s never missed a game. He works harder than anyone I’ve ever had in my six years of coaching … and he means a lot to a lot of people.”
After the final whistle blew, a captain’s decision was made to carry DeArmond off the field on the shoulders of his teammates to cap off a night that had been a career in the making. Before heading home for the night, Griffin and Craig DeArmond shared a long, tearful bear hug.
With the victory, Danville improves to 7-4-3 while Bismarck-Henning falls to 4-4-1.
The Vikings will be back in action on Wednesday with a Big 12 Conference match against the Decatur MacArthur Generals. Action is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.