With minutes to go in Thursday’s match against the Mississippi Brilla, Luke Sheekey connected from long range to ice the Baton Rouge Capitals’ 3-1 victory at Christian Life Academy.
The fun was only beginning.
Sheekey darted straight for the far-right corner as the kick sailed true, waving his arm for teammates to join him. A brief celebration ensued.
“It’s a rare moment,” Sheekey said. “You’ve got to enjoy those moments when they come along.”
Sheekey and his teammates were all grins and goals in breaking out of their season-long offensive doldrums. Three unanswered scores dug the Capitals out of an early 1-0 hole Thursday and sent them barreling toward their third straight victory.
It marked the first time all season Baton Rouge scored more than one goal.
Coming off a breakout 2010 campaign in which they won the Premier Development League’s Southern Conference, the Capitals staggered to a 1-4 start this year after registering only two goals through five matches.
A pair of 1-0 shutouts in Texas last week got Baton Rouge back on track, but Mississippi
came to town with a 22-7 scoring edge against its first eight opponents.
Mississippi’s loss, combined with a Central Florida win, knocked the Brilla (5-2-2) out of first place in the Southeast Division.
Baton Rouge (4-4-0) got three big points with the win, yet remains fourth in the Mid-South Division thanks to the earlier woes.
“This may sound weird, but it’s bittersweet,” Baton Rouge coach Stuart Hayers said. “It makes you realize where we’d be if we’d capitalized against some of the weaker teams and played the way we’re capable of playing.”
The Capitals made this one count. Especially late.
It looked grim for Baton Rouge when Mississippi forward Joey De Mare got himself open on the right wing and fired a rocket past Chip Sanders for the game’s first score. But the Capitals struck back on a pair of set pieces.
With about eight minutes left in the first half, Guilherme Brandao set up Ben Callon’s header for the tie. Thirty minutes into the second half, Brandao set up Achille Campeon’s score to give the Capitals the 2-1 lead.
Baton Rouge’s stingy defense kept Mississippi under wraps the rest of the way.
Finally, with time winding down, Sheekey found the net to erase any notion of a late Brilla rally.
The Capitals were bound for their third straight win as they celebrated in the corner. They hoped the fun was only just beginning.
“We had a little trouble in the beginning, but everything’s clicking right now,” Campeon said. “We’re going to keep going. We’re going to go all the way.”