DUBOIS - The Washington Catholic Cardinals defeated the Shoals Jug Rox 3-1 on Wednesday in a sectional-opening match at Northeast Dubois.
The game stayed scoreless until a Shoals goal early in the second half that put the Jug Rox up, 1-0.
“We came in soft, thinking it was going to be easy,” said Washington Catholic head coach Wayne Neace. “They came out with some spark and it was a long game.”
The goal gave energy to the Shoals team who spent the majority of the first half backed up in their own backfield.
“I was praying that we going to win this,” said Shoals head coach Mitch Green. “We were up 1-0 so it was just great. The kid’s adrenaline was rushing. I just wish it could have kept going.”
The Jug Rox were able to hold off the Cardinals for close to 20 minutes thanks to goalie Tyler George, who had over 30 saves on the night.
Forward Zack Taylor scored the Cardinals first goal of the night with an assist by Blaine Fuhs. After the goal, the Shoals defense began to fall apart.
“I told my assistant that if we hit that goal one time, the flood gates are going to open,” said Neace. “Even though we were pounding the goal, they were in it. But I knew that once it went by that one time it would open up.”
The Cardinals quickly took advantage of the momentum change with Taylor heading in another goal and the final goal coming from senior Brody Wilson.
By the end of the game the Jug Rox seemed to be playing more to stay alive than win the game. George, who had complained of a kick to the head, began to lean against the goal post and would occasionally fall to his knees, cough and dry heave. At one point a Shoals fan ran down behind the net and yelled to the players to do everything they could to keep the ball away from him. After the game, medics transported George to a local hospital.
The Cardinals will move on to play the winner of the Wood Memorial and Northeast Dubois game.
“We’ll just go in and try to play our game,” said Neace. “We’ll practice the same way we always do. Hopefully we can play a little better on Saturday.”