Ekow Annan didn't hesitate while heaping praise on his older brother, P.K., following Minot High School's 1-0 West Region win over Bismarck High on Tuesday.
"In my opinion, he is the best player that Minot's ever had," said Ekow Annan, a sophomore forward.
Senior P.K. Annan, who plays alongside his brother up front, scored the game's lone goal and was recognized over the public address system at Optimist Soccer Complex for notching the 50th of his career.
Minot High School senior P.K. Annan moves by Bismarck High defender Riley Benson in the Magicians’ 1-0 win at Optimist Soccer Complex on Tuesday. Annan scored his 53rd career goal.
It was actually No. 53, but the host announcer wanted to acknowledge the MHS all-time leader, who buried No. 50 against Crookston (Minn.). The milestone goal was the first of three in a tournament game Saturday in Fargo.
"I just love playing with my brother," Ekow Annan said. "He's definitely one of the best players I've ever played with. I'm gonna miss him a lot next year when he's gone."
MHS assistant coach Jordan Wald was within earshot of Ekow's comments and quickly reminded the younger brother why he might not miss P.K. too much.
"Quote yourself from the other day," Wald said. "He said to (P.K.), 'Enjoy your record for about a year or so.' "
Ekow has 25 career goals, including 12 this season, and is well on pace to challenge his brother for the record. For now, the pair is eyeing deep runs through the region and state tournaments of their final campaign together.
P.K. scored his 10th goal of the season in the 25th minute to avenge a 5-4 loss to the Demons (7-2-2 overall, 5-2 region) two weeks earlier. Bismarck was in sole possession of first place in the conference before Annan lifted MHS (7-4-1, 4-3) to the win. (Bismarck St. Mary's beat Bismarck Century on Tuesday to join the Demons at 5-2).
"It means a lot to me," P.K. said of his career total. "It means a lot to Minot. It means that we're going in the right direction, definitely getting better as a city and we're definitely competing with the other cities. And I think other cities are starting to recognize that."
MHS coach Cody Saunders agreed with Ekow's assessment of P.K. as the program's top all-time player.
"He rightfully is," Saunders said.
"He's just an all-out attacking threat and I know every team wants one just like him. Luckily, we have two with his brother. But yeah, P.K. is just ... I knew he was gonna get a goal today. When he's driven and wants it, it's really hard to stop him."
Both teams had ample opportunities in the first half, but the Magicians put nine shots on frame compared to just one by the Demons.
P.K. controlled a cross from senior Bryce Veazey with his body and spun to his right at the top of the 18-yard box. BHS senior goalie Todd Kessler was caught flat-footed as P.K. drilled a low one-hopper into the left side of the net.
"He's big, he's fast, physical and he can finish with his head, his feet, it doesn't matter," Saunders said.
MHS controlled possession for the majority of the game before a frantic BHS push in the final minutes. MHS junior goalie Garrett Weishaar made two tough saves late on breakaways to preserve the win.
Weishaar finished with six saves, five coming in the second half.
BHS coach Tim Green said not much changed strategically from the previous matchup, but noted a different enviroment in Minot.
"I really can't comment on that," Green said. "It is what it is and it's the same every time we come here. You get a different quality of game in Minot."
Green declined when asked to elaborate. The officiating was disputed by the away team's coaches in both meetings this season.
MHS plays Fargo Davies at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Mandan.