With 3:36 to play and the game looking like it was going to penalty kicks, Grovetown’s dream of a state title was dashed.
For the Warriors, the game all but ended with a penalty kick.
With the score tied at 2, the Warriors were called for a foul on Drew’s Sam Medina, who was in the box. His penalty kick to the low left corner of the net gave the Titans (11-4-1) the 3-2 win in the first round of the GHSA Class AAA boys soccer state tournament.
“They’re a good team and they came to play and we hadn’t played in a few weeks because of forfeits and I think it hurt us,” Warriors head coach Bill Madigan said.
The Warriors (12-6) won Region 3-AAA and were a No. 1 seed, but hadn’t played since April 19. The Titans came out and scored the first goal of the contest with just under 37 minutes left in the first half when Medina shook loose in front of the goal.
Following the score, the Warriors controlled play the rest of the half.
They appeared to score the equalizer with 23 minutes to go, but Joe Dauda’s goal was disallowed on a handball call. Unfazed, the Warriors continued to apply pressure.
They built momentum into the break when Chris Evans scored with a
minute remaining, putting the ball past the keeper on a pass from Armand Berry.
Grovetown goalie Damon Stinger kept the game tied with tough saves early in the second half. The Warriors then took the lead when Taven McDonald sprinted down the right sideline and got the ball in front of the net to Dauda who tapped it in with just under 30 minutes to play.
From that moment on, the flow of the game changed to the Titans. They tied the score with 13:27 to play on a Shem
Ogunbunmi goal then won it on Medina’s kick.
“I thought we fought back and got a late goal in the first half, and got the lead in the second half,” said Madigan, who thought that took something out of his squad. “The breaks just didn’t go our way.”