PRAIRIE BASSE — The importance of the 80-minute soccer game was quite evident for the Beau Chene and St. Thomas More boys soccer teams Wednesday night.
Beau Chene, enjoying a five-goal lead with 10 regulation minutes remaining, was apparently on the way to an easy district win.
Then the Gators forget about the rest of the game.
STM responded by scoring four unanswered goals including a pair during the 78th minute.
The 5-4 win for Beau Chene (16-1-5), the top-ranked team in Division II, was diminished by the defending lapses at the end, said Gators coach Chad Vidrine.
“I’ve never seen a game where you’re leading 5-0, have the other team down and out and allow the other team to come back like that,” Vidrine said.
“On the other hand, you have to give a lot of credit to (STM). They did a great job of coming back and getting into it.
“We had allowed seven goals the whole season, and then we give up four in the last minutes.”
STM coach Casey Friend was sitting inside the team bus for most of his team’s comeback.
After the game, Friend said he was ejected for protesting a hand-ball call shortly after receiving a red card for questioning another unrelated carding incident against his team.
“Actually I had a good view of what was going on with my team right here in the bus,” Friend said. “I really have to give a lot of credit to my assistant coaches and my team. They executed there at the end. I think the lesson we learned tonight was it’s a game of 80 minutes.”
The loss dropped the seventh-ranked Cougars to 5-8-2. Both teams compete in Division II, District 4.
Temperatures were already dipping into the 30s by game time and a relentless wind hammered the field throughout.
Beau Chene scored the first two goals away from the wind in the first half.
The first occurred when John-Morgan Eaglin crashed the box and delivered a shot off a rebound at the 26:04 mark.
Then nearly 10 minutes later the Gators’ Juan Carlos Brito scored on a throw-in play from David Smith.
Beau Chene faced the wind during the second half, but the Gators still scored three consecutive times during the initial 18 minutes of the period.
Garrett Judice scored two of those goals off set plays from Smith.
St. Thomas More trailed by five at that point, but the Cougars then made it interesting.
Blake Belgian scored off a free kick in front of the net (68:33) and less than two minutes later Josh Toomey delivered a header off a corner kick.
Tomboy scored his second goal at the 78:00 mark on another header that followed a corner kick.
Beau Chene’s defense collapsed in front of the box and allowed St. Thomas More’s Grant Rodrigue’s elevated shot to touch the net above goalkeeper Briley Dronet and make it 5-4..