For the second straight night at Bob Jones Stadium, another soccer battle between the Blythewood Bengals and Fort Mill Yellow Jackets came down to the bitter end as this time the Jackets were edged 1-0 in sudden death.
Blythewood senior midfielder Dillon Garcia scored with 2:54 left in the second five-minute overtime period, beating Fort Mill in the second round of the 4A state playoffs.
“We knew this was going to be tough,” said Fort Mill coach Lloyd Chalker. “We had our opportunities. They got one and we didn’t. I am proud of our guys.”
Delayed by lighting for half an hour, the fourth-ranked Jackets and the seventh-ranked Bengals started on a soaked field at Bob Jones Stadium.
The Jackets had dropped three games all season coming into the contest – one of those was against Blythewood. That also was a 1-0 game.
The Bengals controlled possession to start the first 10 minute overtime period, forcing the Fort Mill defense to stay on top of things. The rain didn’t help either team as the field and ball became more slippery as time went on.
Blythewood stayed the aggressor in the second 10 minute overtime, keeping possession and trying to make something work down the left side of the field.
However, the Jackets’ defense was key to the game for them as their offense lagged behind most of the night.
Fort Mill continued to stay on the attack at the start of the second half and played more aggressive than in the first half.
The Jackets had two header attempts in the opening eight minutes of the second half with both coming up short. Fort Mill did struggle some in not winning the ball having Blythewood beat them to the ball.
Just four minutes into the game, the skies opened up again with the rain falling steadily. With a slippery playing surface, both teams tried to get an early advantage on the other, but struggled to do so.
Fort Mill had one corner kick early, which was snagged by Blythewood keeper Liam Murphy grabbed the shot in the box.
The Jackets had a header from senior Mike Usina on a free kick attempt about 10 minutes into the game, just missing wide left.
Blythewood had several shot attempts off of a corner kick and came close hitting the crossbar. The Bengals were able to threatened Fort Mill’s front defense on several occasions leading to them needing their back line to make the stop.
Blythewood had three straight corner kick attempts with about 22 minutes left in the first half.
The clouds parted with about seven minutes left in the first half, but Fort Mill still couldn’t part the Bengals defense in trying to score.
Blythewood 1, Fort Mill 0
B – Dillon Garcia, 107:06
Shots on goal: Blythewood13, Fort Mill 14
Saves: Liam Murphy (B) 6, Randall Phillips (FM) 3
Corner kicks: Blythewood 6, Fort Mill 5
Records: Blythewood 22-5-0, Fort Mill 21-4-1.