By Scott McIntosh
Special to hfathletics.com
BROOMFIELD — A three game week for the Tigers was closed out with a visit from a D’Evelyn Jaguars on Friday night.
The Jaguars have struggled to find the net all season after losing their starting striker to a torn ACL after game one. The outlook may have been a comfortable one for the home team, but for a few knock-driven layoffs to their starting midfield engine room.
That picture seemed to be unfolding with an early goal from Alden Bennet who latched onto a threaded ball from stand-in midfielder Zach Taylor.
Following their bright, dominant, start the Tigers lost their drive and slowly allowed the Jags to gain a presence in the home team’s half. Eventually the Jags capitalized on the momentum shift with an equalizer prior to halftime with a strike from outside Liam Burns’ box.
The crowd was stunned, but most could see it was coming.
Following the half time break the Tigers started sprightly again, quickly re-establishing with a well-taken finish effort from Mikey Dolph. The Tigers controlled the remaining 30 minutes. They were denied what looked to all in the stadium (except one) like a stonewall penalty kick – as Dylan McIntosh was brought down in the box at speed – that could’ve absolutely sealed the win for the home team.
With only a couple of minutes to go the Jaguars managed a rare foray into the Tigers penalty box – a Jag was felled and the center ref pointed to the spot – indicating a penalty kick – that was slotted past Burns to tie the game up at 2-2.
This match, for the third time this season, went into overtime.
A pretty dour first period of OT saw both teams struggle with cramps and struggle to flow. The second period of OT was not much different as both teams went for the golden goal and the angst of those in attendance grew.
As time was rapidly expiring the Tigers gained a throw-in near the southeast endzone that was veritably launched by fullback Kiernan Opp into the penalty box mix – there a scrum of bodies from both sides attempted and failed to make contact with the ball before it broke to junior Enrique Garcia to poke home the game winner for the Tigers from a couple of yards out to the ignite celebrations on the home bench and on the bleachers.
Not a great game by any standard, and one the Tigers should’ve buried, but another “W” to move to 8-2 (3-0 in league play) for the 10th ranked 4A team in the state. The penultimate week of the regular season sees a visit to the potentially dangerous Frederick Warriors (5-5; 2-1) on Monday evening and a crucial home tie against the #11 Loveland Indians (9-1; 2-1) on Wednesday.