A penalty-kick goal with under two minutes to play saved the Cougar varsity soccer team from an embarrassing loss and salvaged a 1-1 tie against visiting Fort Knox Thursday evening at the Cougar soccer field on Senior Night.
In the earlier game, the JV Cougars got two goals in the game’s closing minutes to defeat the Eagles by a 2-1 score.
The Eagles came into Thursday’s game with a record of 1-13, their only win coming in early September at Taylor County by a 2-1 score.
But against the Cougars, who were celebrating Senior Night, they looked like champions, holding the Cougars scoreless in the first half despite having Grayson County controlling the ball in the Eagle end of the field for the majority of the time.
Eagle goal keeper William Osterlund frustrated the Cougars for nearly 80 minutes and it was only a foul in the Eagle penalty area in the closing seconds that allowed the Cougars to score the tying goal.
The Cougars were keeping the ball in the Eagle end of the field in the first half, but shots that were taken were well off the mark.
In the sixth minute, Brent Crawford connected with Trey Sanders on a ball through and on goal, but Sanders’ hard shot was stopped by Osterlund.
In the 11th minute, Sanders sent a beautiful crossing pass to a wide-open Lane Decker, who was set up at the far post, but Decker was unable to get his foot to the ball to put it into the empty goal.
Two minutes later, Conner Schultz brought the ball down the left sideline and sent a nice centering pass to Sanders in front of the goal, but Sanders’ shot sailed high over the goal and into the cornfield behind the playing area.
Eric Liptak put a hard shot on goal in the 17th minute after taking a through-pass from Bradley Stone in the mid-field, but Osterlund again stopped the shot.
Perhaps the best scoring chance for the Cougars in the first half came in the 23rd minute when Brent Crawford put a ball through to Schultz near the goal, but Osterlund’s diving stop kept the Cougars scoreless.
The Eagles opened the second half with possession and quickly moved the ball into the Cougar end and put pressure on the goal. The Eagles’ John Box sent a ball to Sebastian Sarcos on the right side, and Sarcos sent a hard, crossing shot across the Cougar goal mouth.
Cougar goalie Jonathan Reynolds dove out trying to stop the ball, but the shot eluded him and it settled into the left side of the net, putting the Eagles up 1-0. That goal seemed to enliven the Eagles and they began controlling the action.
The Cougars threatened in the 63rd minute, sending a ball into the 10-yard box in front of the Eagle goal. No less than five headers were taken in a flurry of activity before the Eagles finally cleared the ball.
The Cougars had a great scoring chance in the 70th minute as Josh Willis took a hard shot from the right side, but Osterlund again thwarted the Cougars as his diving stab at the ball knocked it away from the net.
With under two minutes to play, it appeared that the Cougars were going to go down to a 1-0 defeat. But Brett Majors got control of the ball about 25 yards out and took it in on goal. just as he crossed into the penalty area, he had his feet taken out from under him, and Knox was whistled for a foul.
Awarded a penalty kick, the Cougars sent Liptak out to take it. As Osterland dove to his right, Liptak sent his kick to Osterlund’s left and into the net.
Seconds later the final whistle sounded, saving the Cougars from a humiliating defeat.
The Eagles controlled the ball in the early going and Cougar goalie Carson Zurmehly had to make a fine save in the ninth minute to keep them off the scoreboard.
But in the 13th minute, the Cougars were whistled for a foul in the penalty area, giving the Eagles a penalty kick. Sophomore Ryan Guzman took the shot and put it in to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Grayson County had a chance to tie the score with under two minutes left in the first half when the Cougars were awarded a penalty kick following an Eagle foul in the penalty area. Schultz took the shot, but sent it directly at goalie Alhec Santiago, who was able to stop it and keep the Eagles on top at the half.
With Senior Night festivities scheduled between games, it was decided to play just 20 minutes in the second half. Just eight minutes in, the Cougars got the tying goal when Schultz won a ball in front of the Eagle goal and got it to freshman Dylan Logsdon, who put it into the net to make it 1-1.
With the clock stopped at the two minute mark, the Cougars were putting pressure on the Eagle goal. Eighth-grader Jack Davis was able to send a pass to Dawson Young, and the freshman put it past santiago for the winning goal.