South Point ends Forestview’s Gazette Cup reign

August 27, 2007 at 8:23 am Leave a comment

Wow !

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The expected battle turned out to be just that — A Battle.

After Forestview’s loss in the HS State playoffs at the hands of TC Roberson last November, coach David Shearer “confided” to many people that his upcoming team “…wouldn’t be much…”, and that he was considering not coaching in the fall of 2007. Well, neither that prediction or result mattered on Saturday night at Poston Park. The Forestview Jaguars and the South Point Red Raiders battled, with the Raiders earning the cup for the 7th time in 15 trys.

The match was cleanly played for the most part.  For FV, sophomore, Danny Sassano(#10), the last of the fabled family of soccer brothers, Garrett Skillestad(#11), and Ryan Evans(#6), each provided stellar defense on multiple angles of attack by the South Point players.

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For Belmont, 8 shots in the first half went awry — over, and left or right. FV did not mount much of an attack. Their vaunted typical game plan of 5-7 minutes of “opening intensity” did not materialize as the SP offense got two shots off in the first 3 minutes of play and Belmont’s defense, led by Aaron Pegues kept FV outside of 45 yards for a good 25 minutes in the first half.

Cameron Matthews(#17), normally a defensive stalwart, started his first match in four years at right wing. The 6’5″, 200+ pounder started rolling and took a well placed ball from Matt Crane right at Skillestad, easily feinting around him only to have Skillestad sliding in quickly to knock the ball out of touch. Defender Aaron Pegues (prounounced Pah-ghees, for you phonetically challenged, sounds like –“the keys”) placed several direct free kicks and corners into the box that created unsuccesful shots on goal by the attackers as a result of good defensive play by FV.  

The first half ended in a scoreless draw, setting up an intensity not seen in a Gazette Cup final in many years. Spectators were walking around concerned over the OT procedures and shots from the mark if the match were still tied after overtime.

South Point did not want OT and continued with solid possession for thirty minutes of the second half. Overall, SP held possession for roughly 70% of the match, but again, the defensive by FV stepped up to deny another 8 on-frame shots. Keeper Adam Henry for FV  had a couple of great saves. Marshall Phillips (#5) for FV was pulled to the center-back position to strengthen the middle and Ryan Evan was pushed to the wing give their offense a better punch.

Then “punch” became a key word in this match at the 68th minute. FV keeper, Adam Henry, literally landed a two-handed punch to the side of Raider player, Matt Crane(#9) in the defensive box. SP earned a Penalty Kick opportunity. Crane quickly converted the PK into a goal and a 1-0 lead. The Gazette reported that this was a controversial call, but reviewing the Gazette’s own video of the play, spectators can clearly see the ball on the ground going way from the play and the keeper off the ground going at the player. Good call by the center referee.

The final 14 minutes (there were 4 added minutes for stoppage time) saw a furious Forestview attack resulting in 4 corner kicks, and 5 direct free kicks from less than 25 yards from goal. Silly, prevention attack fouls could have been disastrous for SP in the waning minutes. Thanks to the huge effort by SP keeper, Case Gadd, all of the Forestview set plays were broken up and shut down.

At the end, South Point prevailed. Players, many of whom are club teammates during the rest of the year, shook hands and congraulated each other. Each team knowing that two other tilts await this season.

This marked the 15th year of the Gazette Cup. One wonders if having a six-team format has made this event irrelevant considering the emotional investment levels needed by the players, teams, and spectators. Each team is a member of the Big South 4A/3A Conference and as many as six of the seven schools will probably qualify for the NCHSAA state playoffs this year. That situation creates even another opportunity for match up.

The Gazette should get off its high horse of a Gastonia final expectation and invite top teams in 4A, 3A, 2A, and 1A/Private. Certainly Gaston County’s field capacity can handle a competitive event. Poston Park in Lowell and Martha Rivers Park in Gastonia are excellent soccer facilities and could be well used for this event. The Gazette constantly reminds the community of the impact of baseball. This event could be the soccer equivalent by its impact. The Belmont Front Porch will report in more depth on the financial impact of sports in upcoming issues…

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Entry filed under: Belmont, Community, East Gaston HS, Front Porch, Gaston Gazette, Gastonia Gazette, HS Soccer, HS Sports, Life, Mt. Holly, NC High School Soccer, NC Soccer Coaches Association, NC Soccer Forum, NCHSAA, NCSCA, School, Small Town, Soccer, South Point, South Point HS, Sports, Youth Sports.

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