Second-half surge lifts Tigers over Walker

Published 10:31 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Tigers (6-5-2) rallied from a 2-0 halftime deficit to defeat region foe Walker 3-2 Tuesday to keep their playoff hopes alive.

“We told them that they stepped on the field to being with and didn’t give anything,” Demopolis High School head coach Peter Keen said of his halftime address to his team. “They went out and got three goals that second half.”

The Tigers’ first goal of the game came early in the second half off the foot of senior Tyler Brooker. The Tigers knotted the game at two when senior Trent McDowell beat the Walker keeper with just more than 10 minutes to go in the contest.

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“The second half came up and they kicked it in gear and won the balls,” Keen said of the Tigers’ second-half surge.

Demopolis got the go-ahead goal when Brooker connected on a penalty kick with approximately five minutes remaining.

“Tyler was actually a little nervous about taking it,” Keen said. “He got up there and he did what he needed to do. He stroked the ball into the corner of the net and they had no prayer of getting to it.”

The late-game charge also included two other Demopolis goals which were waived off by officials. While Demopolis still won the game, the nullified goals impacted the squad’s playoff chances.

After losing to Walker 2-0 earlier in the season, the Tigers needed to top Walker in total point differential to hold a potential region tie-break and move into the driver’s seat in the race for the final area playoff berth.

“They scored two goals in 11 minutes and that’s what hurt us,” Keen said. “Once (our defense) woke up, it was a whole different ball game. I don’t know if those first two goals just kind of shocked them. I’m still very proud of them. That’s tough to come back and get three goals.”

The win marks the highest single-season win total the program has ever had.

“We’re going to have our best record ever this year,” Keen said.

While Demopolis no longer controls its own destiny in terms of playoff hopes, the Tigers still have an opportunity to enter into the state tournament. Demopolis must win its final area contest against Pleasant Grove April 17 and hope the Spartans are able to tie or beat Walker in one of their two contests.

“If Pleasant Grove beats them or ties them, then we can go,” Keen said.