“They came out strong in the second half,” said DCHS coach John Cunningham. “They stepped to it more than we did and put a little more pressure on our defense. They were playing quite rough... and we played a little more timid.”
DC got on the board early, putting the ball in the back of the net off a corner kick three minutes into the game. Adofo Ellis took the corner and hit Rooby Delusma in the middle of the box, who then headed the ball past the Sprayberry keeper.
Sprayberry controlled most of the possession over the next 10 minutes but the tide would slowly turn and by the middle of the half the Tigers were threatening the goal nearly every minute.
With 22 minutes to play in the half DC missed back-to-back opportunities to take a 2-0 lead. The first chance came off a free kick. The ball was passed to Delusma, who turned and fired it from 15 yards out. The Yellow Jacket keeper barely got one hand on the ball. Ayman Khan took the ball on the ricochet and passed back through the box where it found the head of a DC player but was pushed the opposite way of the net.
Two minutes later, DC had another chance to score from 15 yards out but Lysten Thomas’ kick sailed high and would have counted for three points on the gridiron.
With 19 minutes to go, Delusma got his foot on the ball once again and sent a shot from the far right side of the box. The ball hit the top post and barely worked its way out of bounds.
Over the final 15 minutes, the Tigers had two other great opportunities to increase the lead. The first came off a corner kick by Chris Isennock, which found the head of Delusma, but the Sprayberry keeper managed to make the save. The second was on a throw in by Khan. Jimmy Valdez turned and fired the ball at the net but the ball sailed high.
The half ended with DC still up by one.
The Yellow Jackets took more control coming out of the break and it paid off six minutes into the second half when Antonio Valenzuela took a through ball and put it past DC keeper Jacob Bivens. Eight minutes later Sprayberry’s Jaime Vazquez had an open shot from 20 yards out but kicked the ball high and wide and the score remained knotted at 1-1.
DC had a chance to take the lead again with 26 minutes to go on a free kick from 20 yards out. Thomas’ kick went high. The Tigers had an even better chance to score two minutes later when Delusma took the ball on a breakaway and found himself on the right side of the pitch with an open net. His kick rolled just past the left corner of the goal.
Douglas County controlled most of the middle of the second half but as the clock ticked under 10 minutes, the Yellow Jackets began to take more shots at the DC goal. With six minutes remaining, Sprayberry took their first lead of the game when Kalum Eaton scored from the left side of the box.
With less than a minute remaining, Delusma took the ball inside the box and sent a cross right in front of the goal, but no one was there to pick up the ball. With 10 seconds to go, DC earned a corner kick and pulled their keeper up. The ball was sent in and the DC keeper, Bivens, who stood taller than anyone else on the pitch, got his head on it, but the shot sailed high and time expired.
“He (Bivens) is one of our best players all the way around and he is back in goal because he is solid there as well,” Cunningham said. “Normally he is a defensive player but sometimes we bring him up for these occasions... He was almost able to put it in there.”