The Prattville Lions boys’ soccer team beat the Elmore County Panthers 5-1 on Friday night despite the Panthers hanging with the Lions throughout the night.

What that final score does not show, however, is how close the match really was. It does not show that the Elmore County Panthers were able to tie things up with Prattville in the second half of the match, nor does it show Elmore County working as hard as it could to make chances for itself throughout the match.

Around the 45th minute of the match, senior Alex Simmons tied the match up on a free kick, sending the ball sailing past Prattville defenders and into the back of the net.

The final score also does not show that Elmore County, a class 5A school with around 500 students, was able to keep up with a class 7A school like Prattville, a school with around 2,000 students.

And in spite of the 5-1 defeat, head coach John Hilbish was not discouraged by the loss.

“I think we played great that first 65-70 minutes, and we ran out of gas at the end,” Hilbish said. “I’m proud of my guys. It was an unexpected surprise how well they played. That’s a good soccer team we played.”

Hilbish said being able to run with a team like Prattville should help the team out in future matches.

“I think it gives my guys a lot of confidence,” Hilbish said. “Playing tough teams like that, it prepares us very well. We’re not going to face a team that good in our area. We won’t. As far as anxiety, they’ll be ready, because of stuff like this. If they know they can hang on for ten more minutes, they can play with anybody.”

The score was 2-1 from the 48th minute until the last eight minutes of the match, when Prattville made it 3-1. The goals started coming in the last several minutes, with a fourth goal in the 77th minute and a fifth in the final minute.

“We just ran out of gas,” Hilbish said. “We had some good runs, too. That’s a very good team, a very talented team, and I’m proud of our guys that rose to the occasion.”

Elmore County’s next match is Feb. 9, when they travel to Stanhope Elmore to take on the Mustangs.