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Highlands 4 Montgomery County 3

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I don't know if MoCo is getting players back, or just has guys figuring out their roles, but this one is a little closer than I expected it to be for the Birds.  I'm sure someone was there and will be able to provide some great first-hand commentary.

Highlands improves to 8-4-2 on the season with the win, they host Simon Kenton on Tuesday and then head to Dixie on Thursday (who will either be riding high after a CovCath win, or will be reeling from two straight losses if Dixie falls at CovCath on Tuesday).  

MoCo, who lost a great game to state runner-up CovCath last year in the first round of the state tournament, falls to 9-7-0 on the season.  This game ends their streak of 4 straight wins, all clean sheets, although against less than top-tier competition.  They next have Frederick Douglass on Tuesday night, who is fresh off a win over Dixie, and MoCo was soundly defeated by Dixie a couple of weeks ago.  

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A Senior Night that will be remembered for a VERY LONG TIME!

What a great night for a soccer match!  The weather couldn't be any better.  The Highlands Bluebirds were going to host Montgomery County for the lone boys match of the evening.  The Highlands girls had just finished their match beating Lafayette 5-1 at 5pm and we quickly moved right into the individual introductions of Seniors with their parents.  Highlands has 17 Seniors on the roster so this took a VERY LONG time to get thru all the necessary and meaningful remembrances.

Like @The Double Deucestated prior I was looking for this match to be somewhat one sided with Highlands taking control.  Unfortunately, during a Senior night game Ponchak and the Birds had other plans.

The starting 11 were all Seniors for the Birds which included Conner Mathis between the pipes for this game.  

The first big action came at the 11 min mark with Casey Stiles takes the ball for a nice 30 yard run into the box for a nice finish to put the Birds up 1-0.

Case in point of the Senior Night festivities, 15 min mark was when Adarsh Khullar enters the game for the first time.....

18 min mark first interesting (maybe controversial call) Montgomery Co does a nice slide tackle inside their box to eliminate a threatening attack by the Birds but in doing so he passes the ball backwards where the Mont Co keeper uses hands to pick the ball up.  The Center Ref blows the whistle, Bird Nation initially thought that they were getting a PK due to the slide tackle maybe....instead to a confused fan base we got a "pass back to keeper who used hands" which results in an Indirect Kick inside the box.  I forgot who kicked it for Highlands but instead of doing the typical tap to another kicker at the point where the ball was placed, Highlands took their chances by BLASTING into the goal and "hope" that it grazes a player on the way in for a goal.  Instead the kick goes high by the crossbar and grazes the bar and goes into the goal.  The Center Ref and AR convene and conclude that it did not in fact touch any other player before going in......NO GOAL!  

19 min mark, Adarsh tries to get to a ball and literally has Mont Co player hugging him and Adarsh then proceeds to push Mont Co player off of him.  Unfortunately Adarsh becomes the victim by the old saying that sometimes the Ref sees the retaliation not the initial infraction.  Adarsh because of his shove gets the first Yellow Card of the evening.

26 min mark, Mont Co gets a free kick 40 yards out and drops a dime right into the middle of the box Mathis catches the ball (or the refs believe he did) then a Mont Co player bumps the ball loose from Mathis's hands and taps it in the goal.  The AR calls the Center Ref over and they convene and determine that Mathis did have possession of the ball and the jarring the ball loose was an infraction, NO GOAL!!!!

31 min mark, Birds mid fielder casually plays a negative pass back to a Center Back...Unfortunately, their was a Mont Co player licking his chops that was able to get a good jump on that pass to intercept it before reaching the intended Center Back, does a nice touch around Mathis and pops the ball into the back of the net.....Highlands 1 Montgomery Co 1

34 min mark, Montgomery Co comments a hard foul on the Birds and receives a Yellow Card.

Halftime:  a disappointing 1-1 score

44 min mark, only 4 min into the 2nd half and Andrew Foley drops a nice diagonal cross to the far post where Colin Pieper was able to somehow stay on side and tap the ball into the back of the net.  Highlands 2 Montgomery Co 1

48 min mark, one of the biggest guys for Montgomery Co I believe he played on the backline takes a ball from inside his 18 box and literally goes in a straight line 80 yards going thru a few Birds players, I mean it looked like Bo Jackson streaking down the field blowing people up.....then right before entering the Birds box Evan Jones goes in low and gets to much leg and not enough ball for a not so clean tackle and the Mont Co player tumbles but Evan Jones gets the hot Yellow Card (they are going out of style in this game).

67 min mark, Big lineup change for the Birds, Ponchak TRYING his best to get as much playing time out of his 17 Seniors in a game that is still up in the air.  I am sure he really didn't think he would be sitting on a 2-1 game 67 min into the match.

68 min mark, Thomas Kearns who I believe was one of the Seniors that just came in at the 67 min mark takes a Mont Co player down (tripping) from behind.  Quick exit for Kearns with the hot ticket (YC).

70 min mark, Mont Co player takes down a Birds defender hard.....Mont Co player gets YC!

70 min mark, Andrew Foley and Chad Gesenhues are subbed out, still with 10 min left and only a 1 goal advantage.....boy o boy!

71 min mark,  Montgomery County puts a nice long Throw In right in front of Mathis but he had a charging Mont Co player and Bird defender charging right at him.  Looks like Mathis might have checked up just a second and the ball either deflected off of the Mont Co or Bird defender just enough to change the ball direction to get past Mathis for a goal.....Highlands 2 Montgomery Co 2

Everybody buckle up because this ending is CRAZY!!!

74 min mark, Dash Macke gets the ball exactly where it was when Andrew Foley launched his assist to Pieper at the 44 min mark and does the same thing but this time Casey Stiles jumps up and gets a nice header on the ball that goes into the back of the net.  Highlands 3 Montgomery Co 2

78 min mark, Bird defender plays a slow pass back to Mathis and once again Mont Co player literally looks like he new that was coming and intercepted the pass got by Mathis easily and puts the tying goal into the net.  Highlands 3 Montgomery Co 3


Thinking the game is going to end in a disappointing tie, the Birds had other plans. They push up the field very aggressively after the kickoff and Colin Pieper receives a pass right at the top of the box (outside of it) he takes a shot which it looks like in doing so gets his plant foot stepped on, Center Ref delays the foul call to see if the Birds can get another quick shot off from the rebound but doesn't therefore the Ref blows the whistle and elects to reward the infraction on Mont Co on Pieper right outside 18 box right in the Center.  Pieper places the ball and puts a sweet shot low into the far right corner of the goal avoiding the wall that was set up in front of him, they needed to build a bigger wall.

After the goal there was some extra curricular activities between the Birds and Mont Co players but no cards given, maybe ref ran out?

30 secs left in the game, Highlands 4 Montgomery Co 3.

Montgomery Co blasts their Hail Mary kickoff down by the box where a Mont Co attacker was going full speed ahead but instead of jumping cleanly up, jumps right into a waiting Birds defender causing ref to call an infraction, while Birds set up free kick time expires.

O wait there is more.....as soon as the horn blows you see 2 of the Montgomery Co coaches storm the field heading straight to the Center Ref which causes him to quickly pull out his Red Card to show the Head Coach just to put the icing on the cake for the evening.

I lost track of how many cards that was but man that was a crazy night!!!!

Like I said in the title this is going to be a game those 17 boys will remember for the rest of their lives that was pure craziness!



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