Tanner Prentice scored a goal with just under 11 minutes remaining to lift the Swanton boys soccer team over Bowsher, 5-4, on Senior Night at Krupitzer Field on Thursday as the Dogs twice rallied, overcoming a two goal deficit in the first half and a one goal deficit in the second to earn the win.
Not only did Prentice’s goal, his second of the game, thrill the hometown crowd and give Swanton the victory in their last home game of the season, it made a winner of the Bulldogs’ lone senior, his brother Tylor Prentice, playing the last regular season game of his high school career on his home turf.
Even before the first kick, the game had an unusual and surprising moment when the starting lineups were announced. Swanton ran out their varsity goalie, Tylor Prentice, followed by 10 Junior Varsity players.
“They played a really good JV season and that’s over now and I wanted to give them a chance to get their names announced out here,” explained Bulldog coach Kris Krupitzer on his starting 11 to begin the game.
It did not take long for the visiting Rebels to take advantage of the difference in experience as Dawson Reinhart scored with less than a minute gone to give Bowsher a 1-0 lead. At the 34:16 mark, the Rebels tallied again to gain a quick two goal lead.
At this point, coach Krupitzer inserted his varsity lineup in hopes to slow down the Bowsher offense. The impact was immediate. The Dogs took control of the ball and began to attack the Rebel defense with a crisp passing game that led to a number of shots on goal. Finally, with 27:53 to go in the first half, Joe Christopherson fired a shot from about 30 feet out past the Bowsher keeper to cut the Swanton deficit in half, 2-1.
A little more than five minutes later, Tanner Prentice evened things up with his first goal of the day and soon after that, with 18:14 left before halftime, Josh Adcock drove one in from in front of the goal and the Bulldogs had their first lead of the day, 3-2. The Rebel defense stiffened and took the one goal deficit into the second half.
Coach Krupitzer went back to his original starting lineup to open the second 40 minutes and the results were virtually identical. Less than two minutes in Bowsher’s Austin Williams scored his second goal of the game and the Swanton one goal lead was gone. The Rebels found the back of the net again four minutes later and the Bulldogs were behind 4-3.
The Bulldog varsity was rushed back into the game but this time the comeback proved to be much more difficult. “There was a lot of speed out there,” commented Krupitzer on Bowsher’s second half effort. “At first we were taken back but we recovered and held the fort.”
It took almost 15 minutes but Tanner Callicotte sent a crossing pass to Trevor Schaller who deflected the ball into the right side of the Rebel goal for a 4-4 tie.
The contest was an even battle from there until Tanner Prentice drove down the middle of the field, fought off three defenders and blasted a shot high into the net for what proved to be the game winning goal with 10:37 remaining.
Bowsher responded by turning up the offensive intensity and it took two diving saves by Bulldog keeper Tylor Prentice to keep them off the board but when the final whistle blew, Swanton had a 5-4 victory.
“We could have done better. But it made us work harder,” remarked senior keeper Tylor Prentice on the early 2-0 deficit in his last game. “We had to work harder which was all right by me. We needed it.”
Swanton, however, lost on the road at Rossford on Saturday 2-0.
Following the regular season this week, the Bulldogs (6-8-1) will open state tournament play on Tuesday, Oct. 20 when they entertain the Delta Panthers.
Bill O’Connell can be reached at email@example.com