EAST BREMERTON — Two comeback bids and an eagle soaring overhead late in the second half wasn’t enough for the Klahowya Eagles to rally past the Charles Wright Terriers in a Class 1A West Central District boys soccer match Tuesday night at Silverdale Stadium.
The Eagles, the No. 1 seed from the Olympic League thanks to a 9-0 league season that gave Klahowya the opportunity to host a district opener. The bad news is the Eagles have yet to solve the puzzle that is Charles Wright, which beat them last season in a loser-out match and two years ago in the district championship.
Klahowya’s last playoff win against CWA came in the district title game in 2015.
“Charles Wright, it’s always been us and them every year,” said junior midfielder Andrew Dickson, who scored two penalty kicks that tied the match both times. “We knew that going in and we knew that we had to play hard.”
Dickson said the early goals by the Terriers set Klahowya back a bit but it woke them up and the Eagles started to play stronger.
Klahowya will play Coupeville in a loser-out game on Thursday at Orting High. Time is to be determined. It will be the fourth time the two teams have played each other this season.
“We’ve got to get down to work and catch a win,” Dickson said. “Because if not then what could be a great season’s over and that’s happened to many times.”
With the Eagles down 2-0 to start the second half, Klahowya senior midfielder Mason Joe was able to slip between two defenders and CW goaltender, who had come out to play the ball, and had virtually an open-net to score which he did in the 62nd minute. That gave the Eagles momentum, and after a penalty kick was called a few minutes later, Dickson converted to tie the game at 2-2.
“It’s just nice to see that we didn’t give up,” Joe said. “I saw that my brother (Darius) and I knew that kid (the goalie) had his back turned … I just got a toe on it and I thought ‘I’m just going to go here.’ If I don’t make it, I don’t make it. I have nothing to lose here.”
— Annette Griffus (@AnnetteWSSports) May 9, 2018
“A lot of teams can’t come back from a two-oh deficit,” said Klahowya coach Jeff Quinn. “We knew being on the negative side of that if we got that first goal, we’d have the momentum. We also dodged several bullets in that mix.”
Quinn was referencing the athletic goalkeeping from Parker Short as well as his teammates backing him up when he was caught out of position on two occasions. A near goal by Charles Wright was stopped by Parker initially, but the rebound was almost across the line if not for the timely footwork of Dakota Johnson who cleared the ball away as the Eagles bench erupted in cheers.
“You don’t want to put your keeper under so much pressure that he makes three or four mistakes,” Quinn said. “He made huge saves. But to come back, yeah, it definitely impressed me.”
The Terriers then went back on top 3-2 on a goal by Adam Berg with about two minutes left. It looked grim for Klahowya but after a scramble in front of the Terriers goal one of Charles Wright’s players got his hand on the ball and a penalty kick was called.
Dickson converted his second goal to tie the game at 3-3 and about 30 seconds later the referee whistled for the end of regulation. After two five-minute overtimes, the match went to penalty kicks with the first to five goals earning a spot in the district championship.
Klahowya’s Mason Joe, Dickson, Darius Joe scored and Kris Chaparro notched the tying goal to make it 4-4. Charles Wright’s Michael Saffari converted a low shot past Parker Short for the game-winner.
Klahowya’s Quinn said it’s not ideal to play Coupeville again, especially since the Eagles will likely be short-handed as Derek Johnson could be out (knee) and another player missed Tuesday’s game due to an illness and isn’t expected back.
Still, the fact the Eagles will have a different lineup could prove favorable.
“I think we can beat Coupeville, I’m pretty confident,” Quinn said, “but I can’t be overconfident because they’ve seen us three times.”