BLACKFOOT – It was senior night for the Blackfoot boys’ soccer team, and as always, a very emotional night for senior players and their coach Liam Pope.
“All of these seniors have contributed in their own way to making this team,” Pope said. “I will miss each and every one of them for what they have done this season.”
The five seniors who will be leaving the program following this season are Manny Bartolo, Wyatt Gerrie, Josh Nash, Misa Reyna, and Brian Chavez.
As is tradition, all five started on Senior Night and performed in front of family and friends, of which a large number turned out on a windy, blustery evening.
The game with Shelley was a bit late in getting going, but the two teams put on a show for those in attendance.
The teams went at each other like there was not going to be a tomorrow. Up and down the field the two teams went, often at break-neck speed, trying to gain an advantage over the other and every time, the teams were turned away by good defense and strong goal keeping.
For the better part of 38 minutes of the first half, each team was able to keep the other team off the scoreboard. Then just as you might think the game would go to the half time intermission in a scoreless tie, Shelley was able to get a ball past Blackfoot goal keeper Gavyn Cornell and the Shelley bench erupted in cheers as they would take a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
Both teams came back following the intermission with thoughts of taking the game home in the win column and they went at each other hard for the next 37 minutes.
Back and forth they went, at times sending the ball riding on the winds that blew out of the south and at other times, fighting against the wind and the opponent with a ferocity not usually seen in a game that essentially had nothing to do with the standings or seeding for the upcoming District 6 tournament. Blackfoot had already secured the number three seed and Shelley had secured the number four seed so the two teams were battling for pride and bragging rights in Bingham County.
With only 3:04 remaining in the contest, Shelley was called for a hand ball, giving the Broncos a penalty kick right in front of the Shelley goal.
Pope sent up senior Misa Reyna to take the kick and give the Broncos a tie in the closely fought contest.
As if there were no pressure on himself at all and the outcome of the game was not on the line, Reyna very calmly went at the ball and booted it past the Shelley keeper, giving the Broncos a tie in the contest at 1-1.
While the outcome of the game was not really what this game was about, it was a battle between two teams who have been searching for their own identity all season long and this game should send a message to the rest of the High Country Conference that both are a threat to the top two teams, Hillcrest and Skyline and if they aren’t on the top of their game, they will be looking at the tournament from the left side of the bracket.
Tournament time is next for these two teams and brackets will be released sometime this week.