OBJECTFutbol looked a lot like football on Thursday night in Sylvania.
Southview and St. Francis de Sales played in a soccer match that literally drew blood and its share of bumps and bruises by the time the physical contest came to an end.
The nonconference encounter between the Cougars and Knights also came down to a dramatic close with Matt Lenz being credited with a game-deciding goal with 58 seconds remaining to give St. Francis a 3-2 victory over Southview.
Lenz's late goal, which came on a bang-bang play near the net in which a Southview defender appeared to have kicked the ball in the Cougars’ net while trying to clear the ball away from Lenz, helped the Knights (6-0-1) avoid blowing a contest they led 2-0 early in the second half.
"We'll take those goals. It wasn't a beautiful goal, but a win is a win," Lenz said of his tie-breaking goal to give the Knights their fourth straight victory of the season.
St. Francis assistant coach John Clarke said the Knights, who also received a goal from Colin Clarke and Ben Zepp, suffered a second-half letdown and allowed Southview the opportunity to get back into the contest.
Clarke, who is the coach's son, gave St. Francis a 1-0 halftime lead when he scored on a goal from 10 yards out with 23:29 remaining in the first half. The Knights dominated the ball in the first half and kept the ball on the Cougars’ end of the field for much of the half.
Yet, they only had one goal to show for several shots on goal against Southview goalie Evan Breeden.
"I'll give Southview credit, they fought until the end," John Clarke said. "I think we had some unfortunate things happen to us.
"We controlled the first half pretty clear, but we just didn't finish our chances."
St. Francis led 2-0 early in the second half when Zepp scored with just over 38 minutes left in the game.
At that point, the Knights seemed in total control.
But that proved not true.
St. Francis' Matt Lenz (14) and Sylvania Southview's Zach Martin (17) chase the ball. The Knights are 6-0-1 on the season.
Matt Wainstein tightened the score and made it a 2-1 contest when he booted a ball in the direction of the Knights’ goal that bounced over the head of St. Francis goalie Logan Kuhlman, who had lost his footing and was falling to the turf with just over 13 minutes to play.
Approximately five minutes elapsed before the game became locked in a 2-2 tie after a controversial moment in the game took place that led to Kuhlman receiving a red card after colliding with Southview's Gunnar Kronmann as both went after a loose ball near goal. Kuhlman's attempt to kick the ball away resulted in Kronmann being kicked in the face and drawing some blood. He was the second player on the night who needed assistance from a trainer to stop some bleeding after being kicked in the face.
The momentum-swinging play also led to Southview's Michael King tying the score at 2-2 with a penalty kick that got by St. Francis backup goalie Logan McNamara.
But Lenz's sixth goal of the season put an end to a strong second-half surge by Southview (4-4-1), which had scored twice after halftime and appeared en route to scoring at least a tie with St. Francis.
"It was a hard-fought game by both teams," Southview coach Chad Cody said. "It was disappointing to lose that way. I feel our goalie had possession of the ball and their forward went into our goal to make him lose the ball and they put it in and an experienced official allowed that to go.
"It was just a hard way to lose. Our boys fought back hard and never gave up."
Cody believes the Cougars will benefit from the experience of playing in a challenging match against a tough opponent.
"I take out of this game a lot of dedication and determination by my squad," Cody said. "They weren't willing to give up. They kept on fighting."