On Saturday at Indian Highland Park in the TSSAA Class AAA sectional, Dobyns-Bennett overcame Maryville — and itself — to earn a hard-fought, 2-1 win over the Rebels and punch its ticket to next week’s state tourney.
The Indians (19-0-2) had five yellow cards, the most damaging a second yellow to Eli Click that resulted in a red card and automatic disqualification. D-B had to play the final 30 minutes of the game a man down.
“It comes down to discipline,” said D-B coach Blake Rutherford. “Some of the decisions we made out there weren’t the best.
“But give the guys credit. They didn’t quit and continued to persevere.”
View the photo gallery from the match
Click got the Tribe on the board in the 15th minute when he converted off a cross from Will Arrowood.
That goal was all either team could muster in the first half as both D-B goalkeeper Jacob Park and Maryville’s Andrew Yarlett came up with key saves.
Six minutes into the second half, though, the Tribe’s Spencer Correll one-timed a ball past Yarlett, and D-B had a 2-0 advantage.
“I’m predominantly left-footed, so I didn’t have much time to think,” Correll said. “I just swung my right foot and buried the ball in the net.”
Just four minutes later, Click earned his second yellow and was sent off, leaving D-B shorthanded for the remainder.
“Maryville came at us hard from that point on,” Correll added. “We kept our composure there at the end and they didn’t score until the last minute.”
The Rebels (14-6-3) pushed everyone, including their goalkeeper, into the penalty area on a last-minute corner kick. In the melee in front of Park, Maryville’s Drew Zacharias managed to get a boot on the ball and slip it past Park.
Seconds later, the final whistle blew and D-B was state bound.
All told, there were 10 yellow cards and two red cards in this chippy affair.
“I thought the rhythm of the game was disrupted by all the cards,” said Maryville coach Steve Feather. “But hats off the D-B, they played with a lot of passion and their goalkeeper was outstanding.”
D-B now needs three more wins to earn a coveted state crown.
“What we’ve accomplished so far is amazing,” Correll said. “We’ve played as a unit to get to state. Now we need to win those last three games.”