Their legs were nearly ankle deep in the wet, muddy field, but they weren't thinking about the cold or the mess.
The minds of the Lexington Catholic players were at the hospital with Matt Wagner.
Even as the 23rd-ranked Knights celebrated their 1-0 win over No. 18 Paul Dunbar in the 27th District championship game Thursday night, the players only wanted to talk about their teammate and goalkeeper.
Wagner ruptured his spleen during a collision in the semifinals and had emergency surgery this week.
"This win was for Matt," said fellow senior B.J. Hall, who went in goal in place of Wagner. "I talked to his mom earlier and went to get his gloves and his jersey, and the last thing she said was, 'Win it for Matt.'
"If that didn't mean something to all of us, I don't know what could motivate us."
Coach Greg Hilvers echoed that. He didn't have to say many words to the Knights before the game. He said seeing Wagner go down has been hard on the coaches and players.
"Most of these guys have either played with him or known him for longer than they've been in high school, and there's no motivation required," Hilvers said. "I just had to say, 'Guys, just remember Matt.' "
With 24 minutes left in the game, Chandler Ware scored on the Knights' first shot on goal of the half. He raced down the right side and looked as if he was planning to pass the ball into the box.
"I was going to cross it and, at the last second, I changed my mind, and it went in," Ware said of his fourth goal of the season.
It was the first goal the Bulldogs have given up in their region this season.
Even with the loss, Dunbar gets to move on and play next week.
"We're fortunate that we get to play on," Coach Todd Bretz said, "but we made a mistake against a very talented team that's well-coached, and you can't do that; they capitalized. Unfortunately, we had a couple of opportunities and didn't."
With the win, Catholic earns the right to host the 14th Region tournament.
It looked as though Dunbar was going to put up a fight for home-field advantage in the second half. The Bulldogs had two shots go off the post but couldn't find the net.
"They were unlucky not to get one," Ware said. "They had us on our heels for a good portion of the game."
Hall said he was nervous in goal at first but settled in eventually. He hadn't played keeper in almost four years.
"It's no different than playing anywhere else really," Hall said. "But no matter what, our defense played well, and that helped."
For three straight years starting in 2004 (when they were realigned into the same district), the two teams met in both the district and region finals.
Each of those years, whatever team won the district tournament eventually fell to the other team in the region.
But Hilvers said he isn't concerned about old trends.
"Every game's a new game, and every year's a new year," he said.
Lexington Catholic 1, Paul Dunbar 0
Goal—Chandler Ware. Goalkeepers—LC: B.J. Hall; PLD: Taylor Nossokoff.
Records—Paul Dunbar 8-4-4, Lexington Catholic 11-6-2.
MVP—Hunter Hamilton, Lexington Catholic
Catholic: Brandon Johnson; Matt Wagner; Robbie Gorham; Dunbar: Nick Marnatti, Taylor Nossokoff, Neil Sharma; West Jessamine: Ryan Moberley; East Jessamine: Christian King; Lafayette: Alex Moody; Lexington Christian: Seth Mayfield.