FORT WAYNE – Ten times they’d come this way, only to see the lights go out on their season. So who could blame the DeKalb Barons for lining up gleefully in front of the goal and letting that crowd of family and well-wishers aim their cameras at them?
That’s how Saturday night ended for the 12th-ranked Baron boys soccer team, with the lights – camera flashes this time – going off instead of going out. Two second-half goals sent the Barons to the Warsaw Semistate by a 2-1 count over Bishop Dwenger in a contentious and sometimes chippy Class 2A Carroll Regional final.
Big for us, DeKalb coach Jed Freels said. We’ve lost 10 times in a row in the regional. We get here, and we just never get it home. So for us, it’s great for the boys.
And of course, being the regional, it didn’t come without a price. Senior Austin Sibery scored both goals for DeKalb, one in the 49th minute and then the winner in the 67th minute – but he also picked up a red card that will put him put out of the semistate.
Sibery and Bishop Dwenger goalie Sebastian Feher both drew yellow cards for an outbreak of shoving in front of the Dwenger goal in the first half, and Sibery got his second with five minutes to play when he was called for encroachment – i.e., not giving an opponent the required 10 feet on an inbounds play.
Too bad, Freels said. They didn’t ask for 10 (feet), but that’s what it was, and unfortunately they sat him down.
Not before he did his damage, however.
In a bruising, scoreless first half whose physicality reached its peak in the 36th minute when Sibery and Feher drew their yellows, DeKalb’s Brennan Cochran got the best of limited chances.
The first opportunity presented itself in the fourth minute, when Cochran got behind the defense inside the box but drove the ball wide to the right of Feher.
The second happened in the 30th minute when Feher came way out of his net to play a ball that slipped behind him, then scrambled back to dive in front of Cochran and smother the shot.
That left it to Sibery to break things up with a screened shot from the left side that skittered through a tangle of bodies and caught the far corner of the net nine minutes into the second half. Brian Gore tied it for Dwenger in the 66th minute with a deft header into the bottom corner from directly in front of Secrist, but Sibery answered just a minute later with the game-winner, a bomb from 22 feet out that rocketed inside the near post.
Thirteen minutes and change later, the Barons were saying cheese.
We just had to keep going and keep trying, Secrist said. We just had to keep trying, that’s all we had to do. That’s our main focus, just keep trying and trying.
One time, two times, 10 times.