Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - It is ironic Thunder Mountain’s winning goal over Juneau-Douglas Tuesday night came in stoppage time when, in fact, neither the Falcons or Crimson Bears sides ever slowed down, let alone stopped, in the 3-2 boys soccer match.
TMHS junior Wallace Adams blasted a rebound of senior teammate Logan Miller’s shot at the top of the box into the JDHS net with time frozen at 38:00 minutes for the go-ahead goal at Falcons Field.
“We want to take everything this year,” Adams had said a week ago, and he echoed that sentiment again with a leap and a smile and a crush of teammates congratulating his left-footed strike.
“That was a lot of fun,” TMHS coach Tim Lewis said. “I knew it was going to be a competitive game and I think it proved to be a very competitive game. JD came out to play, our boys came out to play, and I think the results showed for themselves. It was just good to see kids out there playing. I have probably coached 80 or 90 percent of these kids at some point so it has just been good to see them progress, get better, and no matter which school they are at they are playing better soccer, and that is my goal, just to see better soccer being played here. I am pretty happy with the results and the skills that they have.”
Both sides seemed to spend more time on attacking than possessing in this cross-town contest.
Thunder Mountain missed a chance in the first 10 minutes on a run down the middle and Juneau-Douglas came right back with a shot that Falcons junior keeper Miles Peterson blocked out and Crimson Bears senior Tim Degner shot a crossing pass back through the box that just missed.
Juneau-Douglas sophomore keeper Ben Goldstein charged a TMHS attack and put the ball off a Falcons’ player at the 15:50 mark. In the following action TMHS’ Adams touched a crossing shot that Goldstein stopped.
The Falcons regained possession and missed high on a running shot.
At 18:35 JDHS nearly scored on a touch but Peterson saved the shot.
The Crimson Bears came right back as junior Sam Holst put a corner kick into the box that classmate Callan Smith headed into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead at 21:57.
“I think for everyone, we were just happy to come back and play,” Holst said. “First game of the season for us. I think we played really well, especially because we lost last year’s season and we have a lot of young guys. I think this is a good thing and now we can just grow from where we are.
At 23:26 the Crimson Bears put two shots on goal that Falcons keeper Peterson stopped.
JDHS then put a corner kick on goal that was sent to the middle and controlled by TMHS on a run down pitch, forcing defenders to foul and resulting in a free kick by Adams that was deflected in the box and the rebound found Falcons junior Phillip Lam who tied the score at 1-1.
“Honestly, as a center midfielder I just want to look for my teammates out wide,” Lam said. “Be central, play the ball, recycle plays, look for my teammates, and score. Being down and coming back is an awesome feeling.”
Another Falcons run at 30:55 by W. Adams to freshman Owen Adams missed long.
“The game was a lot of fun,” Crimson Bears keeper Ben Goldstein said. “Our defense played really strong. We got unlucky, that’s all it was. It was very nerve wracking before the game and once I got in there and started playing I really found my place I think.”
The Crimson Bears would get two attempts in first half stoppage time but a shot went wide and a corner missed across the goal mouth and Falcons senior Gavin Gende prevented the ball being played again.
“We were down in the first half but as a team we kept it together,” Gende said after the match. “We kept pushing and came away with the W because we didn’t give up.”
The second half began with a flurry of shots on both ends until JDHS junior Tias Carney flipped a pass to himself over a defender and dribbled down the middle of the pitch to strike from 20 yards out for a 2-1 lead at the 9:45 mark.
“It was competitive,” Carney said. “First season game. We came out with great intensity, gave it our best and I think we will be stronger. There is much to look forward too. It was great. I have played with these guys, both sides, my whole life, it was great to go up against them and this is incentive to play harder and have a good battle.”
The next flurry saw both teams miss in consecutive shots on consecutive possessions with both keepers getting pressed relentlessly.
“It was fun,” JDHS coach Gary Lehnhart said. “The kids played great, they played better than I could have expected. It was evenly matched, it could have had a lot more goals on both sides. I am really pleased.”
This was the second time the Crimson Bears have played on a full length field this season and players cramped as the Falcons pushed the action as much as they received it.
“I expected that,” Lehnhart said. “I thought our goalkeeper played exceptional and what he has done in the last three months is remarkable, how much better he has gotten and grown into the position.”
JDHS’ Goldstein leapt to tip a TMHS corner out into the center at 17:30.
TMHS’ Peterson smothered a JDHS corner at 22:00.
TMHS’ Miller missed a run that Goldstein tipped and JDHS struck a free kick that Peterson smothered.
At the 31:25 mark TMHS’ Miller was fouled at the box by JDHS keeper Goldstein and awarded a penalty kick.
Miller ran at the ball and put the shot to the left of the keeper to knot the score at 2-2.
“I just keep pushing and eventually one will go in,” Miller said. “In the second half we emphasized more combinations on top and less long through balls. They gave us more space and we were able to get the penalty and I was just lucky enough to tuck it away. It was fun. It was a good first game for them. We are friends with a lot of them. It is just fun to be back on the field with them, especially at home.”
JDHS would miss two shots high in the next minutes, TMHS one, and JDHS another before Wallace hit the difference maker.
The last minute passed with the ball stuck in the JDHS half of the pitch.
Before the referee’s whistle ended the match, before it was even blown to begin the match, the words, “All right boys I want a live bench” were heard.
Words not spoken from a coach but from a player. Words that echoed across both benches and, much like a starters gun, put both sides into non-stop pitch action.
They came from injured Crimson Bears senior Forrest Davis, who will miss the season due to injury but will attend every game because he is a soccer player.
“I would love to be out there playing,” Davis said after the match. “I have unfortunately torn my ACL three times now in the past year and a half.”
Davis just found out he tore his ACL again last week. On Tuesday night he was the game captain, standing in for the coin toss in street clothes across from an opponent in colors.
“I am here to support the team however I can,” Davis said. “I am very spirited. I like to give instructions. Just yesterday I put together a nice little presentation for the boys about tactics and stuff and that went over really well. I think we had really good intensity tonight. I think we need to work a little bit more on controlling the game, controlling the ball, but other than that I am really proud of the boys. I think we just had some decisions and balls not go our way but I am really pleased.”
Above - Juneau-Douglas junior Callan Smith heads in a goal against Thunder Mountain on Tuesday at Falcons Field. (Klas Stolpe)