Ninety minutes of soccer was not enough to determine a winner on a hot, muggy Saturday in Minford.
With eight minutes left, the Jackson’s Elijah Sauceda got behind the Minford defense and scored on keeper Kenton Gullion to tie the game at three. Though both teams would have a number of chances down the stretch, the game would end in a 3-3 draw.
“We played tough,” Minford head coach Dave Gampp said. “The last goal they scored was probably the one bad mistake they made all game. It cost us a goal and they tied it up.”
The tie kept both teams undefeated on the short season, as Minford improved to 1-0-2, and Jackson moved to 2-0-1.
“Three really tough teams to start out the season with. We’re undefeated so far, so we’ll look at it that way,” Gampp said.
Scoring in the match began under some controversy when the Ironmen lined up for a corner kick 38 minutes into the game. The Falcons were called for a handball in the goalie box on the play, giving Jackson a penalty kick. The Ironmen’s Bryon Lord stepped up and beat Minford keeper Dakota McGraw low in the left corner, giving Jackson a 1-0 lead.
“It’s a tough call to make in the box, because I don’t know if the ball is going anywhere near the goal off of that,” Gampp said. “We have to step above and not worry about those calls because they go both ways. They usually even out.”
The Falcons would answer with two goals just before halftime on two free kicks. The first Minford goal was headed in by sophomore Ian Tolle, the second by another sophomore, Jeremy Fuhrmann.
“He’s just a ball of energy,” Gampp said of Fuhrmann. “Sometimes you don’t know where he’s going, but he tends to get to the goal and get looks in there and get physical. You’ve gotta love his heart and his drive.”
With a 2-1 lead at halftime, Minford came out aggressive in the second half and seemed poised to pick up their second win of the season, that is, until Lord struck again for the Ironmen.
With Jackson on a breakaway, McGraw left the goal and charged the Ironmen offense, diving on the ball to stop the play. After a collision, the ball squirted away and rolled right to Lord who buried it in the net for both his and Jackson’s second goal of the day.
McGraw took an elbow to the chest and would be removed shortly after the the play. He wouldn’t return.
“(McGraw) said he was ready to go in, but…he was really tender. I told him to play it safe and leave him out for now,” Gampp said.
Gullion, a state finalist in the high jump, would enter for McGraw. Though he’s listed as the Falcon’s backup goalie, he was more than up for the challenge of keeping Minford in the game. With 22 minutes remaining in the match, Gullion ranged to his left and dove to save what surely would have been the go-ahead goal for the Ironmen.
“That is a blessing I have this year because I have two awesome goalies,” Gampp said. “I can put either one of them in there at any time and not miss a beat.”
Immediately after Gullion’s big save, the Falcons found the back of the net. Senior Grant Piguet’s cross found a streaking Jacob Aeh, and Minford had quickly retaken the lead.
Minford’s next game will take place at home on Tuesday against Northwest at 5:30.
Jackson 1 2 — 3
Minford 2 1 — 3
First half — 1, Jackson, Bryon Lord (penalty kick), 38th minute. 2, Minford, Ian Tolle, 39th minute. 3, Minford, Jeremy Fuhrmann, 41st minute.
Second half — 4, Jackson, Bryon Lord (unassisted), 58th minute. 5, Minford, Jacob Aeh (Grant Piguet), 69th minute. 6, Jackson, Elijah Sauceda, 83rd minute.
Alex Hider can be reached at (740) 353-1301 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter