On a Monday in mid-September, Keelyn Peacock’s high school athletic career came to an end when the Wasaren League announced that it would not be conducting practices and games in the fall season due to COVID-19 concerns.
“I was shopping in Target when I found out, and my thought was, ‘This isn’t real right now,'” said Peacock, who had played such a huge role for Stillwater’s soccer team that won state titles in 2018 and 2019. “The week before, we were going to play.”
Peacock is on track to graduate in December before heading off to Arkansas State, and won’t get a chance to compete in the “Fall II” season that is scheduled to start in March like her schoolmates and other student-athletes from the Wasaren League.
She does have one more soccer game to play locally, though, one that she helped organize, and one that will match youngsters from the Stillwater and Mechanicville communities Saturday at Afrim’s Sports in Colonie.
“Who would have thought two competitive rivals could do this?” Peacock said of the “Two Towns-One Heart” recognition games.
The event — which is not sponsored by Section II or any high school — will begin at 5 p.m. and consist of a boys’ game first, followed by a girls’ game. A ceremony at halftime of each contest will take place with special recognition going to the players who will be graduating this academic year.
“I was at my travel team practice and one of the parents [Kevin Krosky] came up to me and said, ‘I want to give you a special night. You and all of your friends deserve it,'” Peacock recalled. “I was like, ‘Yes, this is what I want.'”
Peacock and 12th-grader Dani Rubino of Mechanicville played a big role in orchestrating the project.
“They were very excited about putting something together,” said Krosky, whose daughter, ninth-grader Marisa, will play for the Mechanicville team. “We got the parents to help out, and it took off. We have great community support.”
The games to be played on an outside field and consist of 35-minute halves.
“Most of the girls and boys came up through the youth soccer league here,” Krosky said. “It will be kind of a reunion for them.”
COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed, and due to gathering restrictions, those involved in the boys’ contest will be asked to vacate the facility before those involved in the girls’ game take over. The players are allowed to invite two guests.
“We’ll make sure to follow every rule,” Peacock said.
The event will be live streamed on the “Two Towns-One Heart” Facebook page.
“With COVID going on and the season they lost this fall and the uncertainty for a spring season, we wanted to honor these players and do something positive for them,” Krosky said.
Reach Jim Schiltz at [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.