DHS soccer ties with Bryant

Published 10:23 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Demopolis High soccer team played its way into a 1-1 tie with 6A Bryant High School Tuesday.

After falling to Bryant 10-0 in 2008, the Tigers found themselves in a scoreless tie at halftime.

“We changed our formation and went to a 4-1, 4-1,” Demopolis head coach Peter Keen said of an adjustment his team made after losing senior captain and midfielder Tyler Brooker to injury over the weekend. “It proved to be a good change.”

Demopolis controlled the ball much of the first half, keeping play in the Bryant half of the field for nearly 90 percent of the period. The landscape of the game changed considerably in the second half as Bryant went on the offensive.

“It wasn’t a drop off in effort,” Keen said of the second-half change.

Demopolis still managed to control the ball for nearly half of the final 40 minutes of play. The Tigers appeared to take the lead when Trent McDowell put the ball into the goal with 31:40 left on the game clock. However, a card was issued to Demopolis for what the official termed as “upsporting play.” According to the official who issued the card, a Demopolis player knocked the ball out of the hands of the Bryant keeper prior to McDowell’s shot. The ruling negated the goal and temporarily swung the momentum into Bryant’s favor.

Less than a minute later, Arthur Carr boomed a shot from just inside 30 yards away to put Bryant up 1-0 with 31:12 to go in the match.

“He’s a great player,” Keen said of Carr. “His specialty is to shoot from 20-30 yards out.”

Undaunted, Demopolis retaliated minutes later when Alan Brooker chipped in a shot off a Keith Junious throw-in to tie the game with 27:50 left to play.

Both teams missed a handful of scoring opportunities over the remainder of the game.

“We’ve got some cannon legs. They are so used to wanting to take the ball in,” Keen said of a Demopolis team that frequently failed to pull the trigger on long shot opportunities throughout the game. “We’ve got to take the shots from 35 yards out.”

The team still struggled to finish at times throughout the game. However, Keen was encouraged by the overall performance of his squad.

“It’s huge. It’s a 6A school that can be a lot more selective on their players. I’m proud of them,” Keen said. “When they lost Tyler, the thought that the season was over with. There are 11 players on that field and each one of them is important.”

A big part of the Demopolis success Tuesday came in its ability to limit Carr, Bryant’s primary goal scorer. The responsibility for that task was given primarily to midfielder Rusty Palmer.

“Rusty is called my stopper,” Keen said. “His job is to find that ball and stop them. And he’s done a very good job of it.”

The Tigers take to the field again Friday when they travel to Central-Tuscaloosa.

“Hopefully we’ll win our first area game Friday,” Keen said. That game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.