“It was just a matter of time.”
That’s what South Forsyth coach Tom Braun said after his War Eagles fell to Meadowcreek, 1-0, in the first round of the Class 7A state playoffs at War Eagle Stadium Friday night.
“We defended too much and chased too much the whole second half,” Braun said.
It almost worked out for South (12-7-1), who despite being outplayed by Meadowcreek (13-5) for most of the second half kept the game scoreless.
But, as Braun said, it was only a matter of time. The time came with two minutes left in regulation when Meadowcreek’s Henry Benavides was able to dance through a couple South defenders before crossing it inside the box for his team to strike home.
“We were bending, bending,” Braun said. “We didn’t break, but the last two minutes, we broke.”
South had one last chance in the final minute to tie the game, but Adrian Garcia’s header off a corner kick went just wide and the War Eagles season came to an end.
“(Meadowcreek) is a very good squad,” Braun said. “Nothing to be ashamed of. We played as hard as we could and left it all on the field tonight.”
The game started out well for South. The War Eagles had several chances in the first half, narrowly missing on just about every one of their corner kicks.
Senior midfielder Jordan Pelletier also delivered several long throw-ins that essentially served as corner kicks but, like their actual corner kicks, the result was the same for South – close but not quite.
“We seemed to have control of the play in the first half,” Braun said. “We had our opportunities. We didn’t capitalize.”
Early in the second half, it looked as though South had finally broken through on a free kick, but the play was called back offsides.
That was the last chance South had until the final minute, as the speed of Meadowcreek was just too much for the War Eagles to handle.
If it wasn’t for goalkeeper Aarnav Sandhu making save after save after save, including a couple quality saves off of Meadowcreek breakaways, the game would have been long over before the final minutes.
“I know the kids are disappointed, but they had a tremendous season,” Braun said. “We knew this was going to be a tough game and it was.”