Richmond Academy still has the unbeaten part down. They'll spend an entire summer wrestling with the fact they are no longer untied.
The Musketeers lost a first-half lead early in the second half and settled for a 1-1 tie and a Georgia High School Association Class AAA co-state championship against the Grayson Rams on Friday evening.
"It's not a good feeling," Richmond Academy midfielder Parker Rogers said. "It makes you understand what everybody means with that tired old line of kissing your sister. This is more a letdown than a game that earns us a state championship trophy."
An approximate crowd of 2,500 fans saw a most surreal sight at the end of the match. It showed perhaps there's more thinking and debate needed to decide state championships in Georgia high school soccer.
One sideline did everything short of cartwheels and break out in song. Richmond Academy's sideline was a far cry from that.
"Everybody is disappointed but we are still state champs," Richmond Academy coach Chris Hughes said. "We still get rings. We get a big trophy. We are still undefeated co-state champs. I don't see why everyone is so disappointed."
The two teams battled through 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime at a pace that featured a lot more drudgery than the score-happy Musketeers have grown accustomed to this year.
Richmond Academy managed just five shots on goal across the 100 minutes of play. The Rams had just two shots on goal. The only one that mattered came 2:10 into the second half.
It was the first straight-up goal an opponent has scored on the Richmond Academy (24-0-1) starting defenders all season long. The previous five goals that the Musketeers have given up all came on penalty kicks.
Grayson midfielder A.J. Marceau's corner kick found the top of 6-foot-3 defender Peter Ayoade's head. Ayoade heading a shot toward the direction of Richmond keeper Peter Menk's sizeable paws. Menk covered little if any ground to stop the shot, but Ayoade's header slipped through his grasp and into the back of the net.
The first and only of those non penalty-kick scores Richmond has given up will be the most painful.
"We are most upset with giving up a cheap goal than giving up a goal," Richmond Academy coach Chris Hughes said. "It wasn't a shot. It was a fluke thing that went through Peter's hands."
William Batson, who showed unbelievable heart in playing thorough a serious collision with a Grayon defender, scored Richmond's only goal with 11:31 left in the first half.
"This isn't too bad," a bloodied Batson said. "Everybody needs to pick their heads up. No other team in Augusta has ever done something like this.
Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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