Soccer stalemate: Starmount 2, Forbush 2
BOONVILLE — Starmount and Forbush battled to a 2-2 tie in boys soccer action Monday night, staging what felt more like a state playoff contest than a late-August conference opener.
Both teams had the lead and lost the lead through a feverish 100 minutes of play. When the final whistle sounded, both teams saw their overall record move to 2-0-3 — the third consecutive stalemate for each squad.
Starmount’s Juan Morales gave the home team a 2-1 lead with 1:20 left in the first overtime period. The Rams needed just to hang on for the final 11:20 to preserve their first win over Forbush on the field in about five years.
But Forbush freshman Oscar Guadarrama brought things even again, converting a pass from Rufino Rios into the tying goal with 2:58 left in the second OT session. Regular season conference games end in ties if a winner isn’t determined after 20 minutes of extra time.
“It was two tough teams playing. They are only going to get better and we are only going to get better,” Starmount coach Dale Draughn said afterward. “It’s a tough conference. We are already battle-tested.”
Forbush has been the decided favorite in the county rivalry series the past couple of seasons, boasting a veteran team ranked among the state’s best in Class 2A. But the Falcons graduated nearly every starter from 2010 and feature a much more youthful roster this time around. Starmount, meanwhile, returned much more experience, including a forward that many tabbed as the preseason player of the year for the conference, junior Chandler Chappell.
It’s clear after one meeting that both squads are on pretty equal footing.
Forbush got on the board right away Monday, when Robert Cornelius converted a rebound into a goal with 38:37 left in the half.
Both teams had multiple chances to score from there, but the game remained 1-0 Falcons for the rest of the half. Starmount’s Ulises Martinez bounced a header off the top bar, while teammate Chappell fired a shot a few feet over the goal. Forbush had a free kick just outside of the Rams’ penalty box, but Starmount smothered the play and averted falling behind 2-0.
And back and forth it went.
Forbush chose to keep a defender on Chappell the entire game (Eduardo Lozano), and the strategy worked. Chappell got loose a few times and managed to get off a handful of shots, but in the end the Falcons limited the damage he could do.
“Their experience, we knew coming in, was going to be a strong thing for them,” Forbush coach Seth Davis said. “Chandler Chappell is the top player in the conference in my opinion — the kid you have to stop. Our guy did a good job defensively on him and kept us in the game. We were fortunate to come out with a tie.”
Chappell didn’t have any goals or assists, but he did indirectly assist a score. He was taken down early in the second half, and teammate Zack Williams converted the ensuing free kick into a goal. Williams’ shot from 25 yards away sailed into the upper left hand corner of the net, just out of the reach of Forbush keeper Ian Grooms.The final 36 minutes of regulation produced plenty of highlights but no more goals. When Forbush’s Edgar Ramirez lofted a shot over the Starmount goal with 26 seconds left in regulation, overtime became inevitable.
Morales’ goal for Starmount came on another free kick. Rams coaches and players weren’t even sure the ball got into the net at first as it rattled its away through the defense and into the lower left corner. Starmount had to play a man down for the rest of the night, though, when Morales was given a red card for taunting after the score.
The Rams managed to hold Forbush at bay until Guadarrama’s high-flying goal. Rios got loose on a break up the middle and dished to Guadarrama on the left side. Guadarrama had to hit the shot from a sharp angle, but the ball reached its intended target with 2:58 left in the second OT.
“We pushed everything forward except for the kitchen sink,” Davis said of the closing minutes. “It just happened that we had numbers on one side and the defender had to make a decision. He chose to step (to challenge Rios), we slid the ball through and Oscar was able to put it away with, frankly, a great shot for a freshman.”
Guadarrama also drew a red card following his score. He too was whistled for taunting. Both Guadarrama and Morales will have to sit out the next two games as part of their punishment.
Forbush will host West Wilkes on Thursday and then will visit North Wilkes on Sept. 6. Starmount, meanwhile, goes to East Wilkes on Thursday and will host Ashe County on Sept. 6. The next Starmount-Forbush clash will be Sept. 29 in East Bend.
Don’t be surprised to see both teams hovering at or near the top of the conference standings at that point. Forbush is the reigning Mountain Valley 1A/2A regular season champion.
“The first week I would not have said we could play with this team,” Forbush’s Davis said. “But we’re growing. We’ve added a couple of players recently who were working during the summer and they have helped us out in practice, bringing the practice level up. The freshmen are about halfway to being a sophomore. They have been thrown into the fire right here. They know what it’s like now. It’s only to get bettter for them. By the end of the season we hope we are one of those teams that they talk about, ‘You don’t want to play Forbush.’”
Draughn said he knows he’s got a lot of pieces to work with this season. Developing team chemistry and roles will be key over the coming weeks.
“We are still learning each other and trying to gel as a team,” he said. “I thought both teams played very well tonight. Coach Davis had a good game plan. It is always a battle between in-county rivals.”
Forbush won the JV match 3-2.