It took a few minutes for the Capital City Cavaliers to find their footing Monday night.
It wasn't the shoes. It was the socks.
"It's a MSHSAA rule that they all have to wear the same color of socks," Capital City coach Travis Cairer said after the Cavaliers overcame the footwear issues to take a 5-0 decision against the Missouri Military Academy Colonels at Capital City High School.
"If you're wearing black socks, they have to be all black."
Except for some of the Cavaliers, they weren't.
"We've told them that before, they just got called on it tonight," Cairer said.
So the Cavaliers had to put together a starting lineup from the players that had all black socks while the rest of the players shed their white ones as the game began.
That slowed a Cavalier attack that had scored in the opening minute of its last two games, wins against Poplar Bluff and Rolla last Friday in Rolla.
"We've done a decent job of coming out with good intensity, it's been getting better through the season," Cairer said. "We've been coming out smelling blood in the water right from the start, focused on what we needed to do.
"But we didn't have that tonight. The socks kind of blew our focus a little bit."
The Cavaliers got through sock-gate and Mark Echekwu got Capital City on the board midway through the first half on a free kick from deep.
"I told him to make sure we could get on the end of it," Cairer said. "Nobody could get on the end of that one."
The kick from about 35 yards out went off the fingertips of the M.M.A. keeper and into the upper left corner of the net for the score.
"That's not one of those where you necessarily want to put it on the goal because it's usually a pretty easy save for the keeper," Cairer said. "But Mark put it where it wasn't easy."
The Cavaliers then added two goals in a about a two-minute span later in the half to take a 3-0 lead into intermission.
Miles Andrews tallied the score, taking a great through pass from Clayton Hamler and dribbling toward the net for the goal with a little less than seven minutes on the clock.
Mo Yanis followed with a goal on a great shot to the lower far corner of the net.
"That took some of the pressure off," Cairer said. "We can be dangerous when we were connecting like we did late in the half."
Connor Chinn tallied his first varsity goal for the Cavaliers about eight minutes into the second half to make it 4-0.
"I know he's been on the stat sheet with some assists and he's done a lot of good things for us," Cairer said. "He's coming into his own as a forward as a freshman."
Hamler got the Cavaliers' final goal of the contest, heading in a free kick from Echekwu with just under 30 minutes to play.
"That was one of our better goals," Cairer said. "We haven't scored a ton off set pieces this season and that was nice to see.
"It was a nice looking goal, we know we're going to have to do that against some high-level teams later this season."
Cuah Vertiz-Cruz made one save to get the shutout in goal for the Cavaliers. Missouri Military Academy (4-5) finished with just four total shots.
Capital City (9-1) is back in action today at home against Marshall. The JV game will start at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity contest around 6:45 p.m.