MAYFIELD — It seemed destined from the start to go to penalty kicks last night in the game between the Murray High Tigers and the Marshall County Marshals, considering the last time the two teams met ended that way.
Also, taking into account the previous meeting that reached double overtime before being decided with 26 seconds left in favor of Marshall. There’s no doubt about it, these two teams are as evenly matched as it gets, so last night when the final whistle blew and the guys lined up for penalty kicks, it wasn’t a surprise.
The place was so quiet between attempts that you could hear a pin drop, but after a big save or a conversion, the place went nuts. In the first round, Marshall County goalkeeper Ben Burkeen and Murray goalkeeper Bradley Dawson made huge saves to keep it level.
Then, in the second round, both sides finished shots and still, it was tied. Burkeen and Dawson came right back in round three and made saves and after three rounds the score 1-1. It was in the fourth round that the tide took the first turn and it was not in favor of Murray High. A senior midfielder for Marshall stepped up and delivered on his attempt and the Tigers’ next shot went high. That meant that the Marshals could win it with their next kick and it was another senior for Marshall that sent the ball into the net and the Marshals rejoiced with their 3-1 win in PKs.
Dawson didn’t come away with the save at the end, but his effort put the Tigers in a position to win and head coach Jared Rosa said he’s been such a huge part of the success they have had this season.
“Brad is just phenomenal,” Rosa said. “He’s such a force there and if he doesn’t get recognized next week for that then I don’t know what I’ll do. He’s just been an anchor for our entire team. Now, he’s got a great defensive line and great guys that go forward and we do a lot with what we’ve got, but without Brad none of what we do works.”
Part of the defensive effort last night centered around sophomore Josh Eaton and what he was able to do against one of the best players in the region, Bryce Penn of Marshall. His job was to never leave Penn’s side and bother him throughout the match in a man mark position and Rosa said he was excellent.
“He did great,” Rosa said. “Bryson is probably the quickest kid in the region. I said (to Josh), ‘He’s going to get around you, You just need to hold him up enough to let our defense settle in and figure out what he’s going to do,’ and he did that for the most part...Kudos to Josh and our defense for locking that down.”
With the district championship on the line, the Tigers were definitely ready and focused for the game. Rosa said they executed the game plan to perfection, but that doesn’t always mean a win and last night that was the case.
“The way we played, we did exactly what I told them to do,” Rosa said. “We tried to slow them down out of the middle and keep the ball out on the wings and trust our keeper on any long stuff or crosses. But, it’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
There’s a chance that these two teams could meet again in the regional tournament if the Tigers can take care of business in the first game.
“Whoever it may be, we are looking forward to that game, because we haven’t been there,” Rosa said. “We played a tough game last night and I think the legs got to us a little at the end, but at the same time, to fight like that on back to back nights and give them a scare, I’m proud of these guys.”
Marshall has yet to lose a game in the region this year and if the Tigers get to see them again it could be another PK shootout.
“If it’s going to be like that every time, then we are just biding our time seeing what happens,” Rosa said. “Somebody might stick one, but who knows.”
Boys’ All District Soccer Team:
Deni Salas — Calloway County
Isais Bartolo — Mayfield
J.R. Carbjal — Graves County
Gabe Taylor — Murray
Bryson Penn — Marshall County
Jarret Darnell — Calloway County
Alberto Arellano — Mayfield
Kaden Stack — Graves County
Garret Putz — Murray
Sean Janice — Marshall County
Steven Kelly — Graves County
Charles Pemwell — Murray
Chase Riley — Marshall County
Brad Dawson — Murray
Eric Hicks — Marshall County
Drake May — Marshall County