Gators and Griffins find no separation in district clash
After 80 minutes of play at The Pit on Tuesday night, we still don’t know who’s the best team in District 5.
Reigning district champion St. Amant and last year’s league runner-up Dutchtown faced off to see which team would take its place in the driver’s seat, but no team separated itself from the other. The contest ended in a tie.
“I’m happy in terms of our decision making and our play,” St. Amant head coach Adrian Garcia said. “You can’t ask much more than for the guys to lay it on the line and give it everything they have, and they did that. They’ve done it all year. Even when you’re not at your best, you’ll take a tie against a good team like Dutchtown.”
Dutchtown originally took a 1-0 lead early in the second half, but St. Amant tied the game just six minutes later. From there, neither team could score again.
“St. Amant is always a tough opponent to play, especially at The Pit,” Dutchtown head coach Marcus Dyer said. “I like to call it ‘The Pit of Despair.’ I was happy with the way we were able to perform and how we were able to match their style but still play our game. The goal we scored was all about how we played as a team.
“It was unfortunate we allowed them to get back into the game. After they scored, we had a little bit of a mental lapse, and that allowed them to get more momentum in the game. Who’s better? Well, a tie’s a tie. We’ll have to find out later, if we meet in the playoffs.”
The first half was dominated by strong defensive play, especially early on. Things didn’t begin to pick up offensively until the latter portion of the period.
At the 31st minute, Holden David sent a hot shot toward the Dutchtown goal, but Griffin keeper Parker Kling made a beautiful diving save.
On the other end, St. Amant goalkeeper Dillon Staal made two saves in the span of five minutes.
The last legitimate chance for either team to score in the first half came at minute 36. Dutchtown’s Hector Guzman had a good look, but his shot went over the crossbar.
But Guzman made good on his next opportunity.
At the 51st minute, a Dutchtown throw-in put the ball right in front of the St. Amant goal. Off of a deflection, Guzman kicked the ball past Staal to give the Griffins a 1-0 lead.
But just six minutes later, a St. Amant throw-in ended with a beautiful header by Soren Gaffney to tie the game.
The Gators had plenty of opportunities to take the lead down the stretch.
At the 66th minute, St. Amant had three shots right in front of the Dutchtown goal, but Kling was there to deny them.
Also, at the 76th minute, Colby Forsyth had a point-blank shot inside the box, but again, Kling made a terrific save that kept the score deadlocked at 1-1.
St. Amant has now played 17 games, and they have only once allowed more than one goal.
“Our defense has been solid all year,” Garcia said. “We rely on a goalkeeper who I think is an All-State player and a good back line with leadership. I hated to see that one go in on the throw-in tonight, but we’ve been good all year. We’ve only given up eight goals.”
The Gators still haven’t lost a game. They’re now 12-0-5 overall. The Griffins haven’t lost a game in nearly a month. Their record now stands at 7-3-5.