Trinity Christian Academy’s boys’ soccer team demonstrated on Friday night the game is never over until the final whistle blows.
Down by a goal to District 15 A-AA rival Haywood (5-3-1, 2-1), TCA kept playing hard while waiting to make good on an opportunity to tie the match.
That moment came in the 73rd minute as forward Aaron Silvia, who had just come back on the field a minute before, took a corner kick from center back Jay Dusenberry and headed the ball into the back of the net to tie the match at 1-1.
“Aaron told me when he came off the field that he wanted to go back in the game and that he was going to score a goal,” TCA coach Chip Crockarell said. “So I put him back in, and he did it.”
Then two minutes later the Lions were awarded a penalty kick when a Tomcat defender was whistled for a hand ball in the penalty box.
Senior co-captain Dusenberry put the penalty kick in the lower left corner of the goal to give TCA a 2-1 comeback win over Haywood. The win gives TCA sole possession of first place of the West division of District 15 A-AA with a record of 4-0 (6-1 overall).
“I have been playing for four years, and I knew that I could put it in. I was ready for the moment,” Dusenberry said about his game-winning penalty kick, “Coach had prepared me for this moment.”
Haywood had several chances to score in the first half, but it was unable to put the ball past Lion goalkeeper Kyle Akin, who finished the match with five saves.
Eleven minutes into the second half, the Tomcats got their opportunity when Christian Castro’s long pass caused a little confusion in the TCA defense, allowing Het Herrera to run down the ball and slip it into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
“Haywood is a good team, and they played with a lot of heart tonight,” Crockarell said. “They gave us a really good game, and that is what you want in a district game.”
Dusenberry explained the team’s “never quit” attitude and play to the end of the game tactic comes from its coach.
“He has taught us to always play to win,” Dusenberry said.
The Lions will finish their district schedule when they travel to rival Jackson Christian on Tuesday night, and a win would clinch first place in the district.
“Jackson Christian will be another tough match for us,” Crockarell said. “This is a rivalry match [in which] it does not matter what the two teams’ records are when they play. It is always a battle.”