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Tribe vs. 'Toppers collision ends in tie

By Joe Avento • Mar 27, 2018 at 10:37 PM

KINGSPORT — The two biggest rivals in Big 7 Conference soccer met Tuesday night and absolutely nothing was settled.

Junior Danso scored for Science Hill, Sam Garcia answered for Dobyns-Bennett and the teams battled to a 1-1 tie at Indian Highland Park.

“I really felt like we left stuff on the table,” Dobyns-Bennett coach Blake Rutherford said. “This game, it could have been 0-0. It could have been 1-1. It could have been 3-0 us. It could have been 2-0 them. There were a lot of opportunities.”

The result left the Indians 3-0-1 and Science Hill 2-2-2.

“It could have gone either way,” Science Hill coach David Strickland said. “Both teams had good chances. I think the result is fair.

“They’re a good team. They’re excellent. They have good kids on that team. I think we’ll see them again and both teams will get better as we go.”

Rutherford’s team is still undefeated, yet he sounded like the Indians let one slip away.

“You get in those situations where you’re like, ‘Yes. We grinded out a tie,’ ” he said. “That’s not one of those feelings for me right now. I felt like we did enough stuff to win the game. We just couldn’t get over the finish line.”

HILLTOPPERS STRIKE FIRST

Science Hill took the lead with 34:25 left in the second half when Loann Koch sent a ball through the D-B defense onto Danso’s foot.

Danso gathered the ball and found himself all alone with Indians goalkeeper Jacob Park before calmly slotting the ball into the right corner of the goal.

“Loann put that on the money,” Danso said. “I played it in front of me and all I saw was me and the keeper and I got a big smile on my face.”

INDIANS ANSWER

Twenty minutes later, the Indians were smiling when Garcia headed in a 40-yard pass from Matt Diminick to even the score.

“Every time a ball goes in, you just have to put your head on it and risk your body,” Garcia said. “It’s all about hustle in this game and every play counts, especially today where it came down to the last second.”

LAST GASPS

Each team had a chance to win it in the closing moments. Garcia blasted a shot from 20 yards out with four minutes remaining and Science Hill goalkeeper Chris Casey tipped it over the crossbar.

With 15 seconds remaining, Danso found himself near the right post with a partially open goal and the ball bouncing to his foot. He didn’t get enough of the shot to send it on goal and it bounced harmlessly away.

“I rushed it,” Danso said. “I saw the ball and my eyes lit up. I didn’t set my feet at all.”

The final play took Rutherford’s breath away.

“I said Lord help us,” he said. “We completely messed up on the entry stuff that was going on. Luckily he mis-hit it.

“If he brings it down and he’s got time, that’s a game-winner for him.”

UP NEXT

Farragut, which beat Science Hill 5-0 over the weekend, pays a visit to Indian Highland Park on Thursday night for a nonconference game.

The Hilltoppers play at Tennessee High in a Big 7 game on Thursday night.

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