By Eugenio Torrens
When the PA announcer called stoppage time over the intercom, the crowd at Newsome High erupted into chants of “Ole! Ole!”
Those aren’t the cheers Wharton wanted to hear.
The Wildcats (17-4-1) suffered their first shutout of the season in a 1-0 loss to Bloomingdale for the Class 5A-District 7 championship on Jan. 27.
“I thought we played pretty good,” said Wharton coach Scott Ware. “We just didn’t get the looks that we normally do and put them away. We didn’t get more opportunities around the 18 (-yard line, the penalty box). If we do, we’ll be fine.”
The first half finished scoreless, with defense dominating and both teams squandering scoring opportunities.
The Bulls (13-2-1) struck gold in the 55th minute when Mark Updike found the back of the net. It would prove to be enough as the Wildcats failed to convert the rest of the half.
“I think we came in too lax,” said Wharton goalkeeper Keenan Kushner. “I think we came in too cocky almost, and we just came in too flat and couldn’t produce anything.”
For Wharton, the loss denies many seniors on the squad a district championship in their last season, which includes nine of the 21 players on the Wildcats’ roster.
Ware said these teams weren’t too different from the ones that last met almost two months ago when Wharton prevailed 3-0.
“After we beat them in the season, they switched their style a little bit, their formation a little bit,” Ware said. “They played to their strengths. Smart coaching on their part.”
Ware told his team before the game if there was one game to lose the rest of the year, it was this one because the team lives another day.
“We told these boys what you did in the season is wonderful,” he paused, “to build you to this. It’s great to have that season, but once playoffs start you throw that out the window.
“Every team you play against now, they’re going to throw everything at you — they don’t want to have it be their last game of the season,” Ware continued. “They’ll throw anything they possibly can.”
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.