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Aaron Kovac scores the decisive goal as Patrick Henry holds off George Washington.
Friday, May 17, 2013
When offensive catalyst Emanuel Scere picked up a yellow card in the 21st minute Friday night, there was no reason for Patrick Henry to panic.
The Patriots had been there before.
In the first of three meetings this year with George Washington, Patrick Henry had lost Scere to a red card but rallied for an overtime victory in Danville.
A second yellow card Friday night would have resulted in a disqualifying red card, so coach Chris Dowdy decided to take the cautious approach and sit Scere for the remainder of the game.
Sophomore Aaron Kovac, one of the players who filled Scere’s spot, scored the eventual winning goal as Patrick Henry defeated GW 2-1 in the Western Valley District boys soccer championship game.
Kovac’s goal in the 47th minute gave Patrick Henry (11-4-3) a 2-0 lead, a cushion that came in handy when Jeremiah McGeough scored for George Washington (10-4-1) in the 60th minute.
The Eagles, losing at Patrick Henry for the second time in eight days, pressed the action in the game’s closing minutes and had a throw-in from the corner that passed in front of the goal mouth with less than a minute left.
Dowdy said he would not have put Scere back in the game under any circumstances. A red card would have kept Scere out of action for Patrick Henry’s first postseason game.
Friday night’s outcome “would not have changed our standing in the region,” said Dowdy, whose team returns to action in nine days. “If we had put him back in, even with a one-goal deficit, it wouldn’t have been worth the risk.”
Patrick Henry’s first goal, which came on a penalty kick by Renato Grgic, was the result of a penalty on GW for taking down Scere in the box.
“He’s [Scere] very much a marked man,” Dowdy said. “That’s something he’s going to have to deal with. He’s grown up a lot this year. The yellow card was kind of soft. It wasn’t a malicious yellow card.
“I had a good talk with him at halftime. He’s upset, like any competitor should be, but he understands why we did this. You can’t tell a great player not to play his game.”
Kovac took a pass from Erik Agren and was heading it toward the goal when he collided with GW goalie John Robinson.
Despite being flattened, Kovac had the pleasure of watching the ball roll into the goal.
“I felt like I had to pick up for our loss,” Kovac said. “I’ve done it before in other games but just haven’t been able to score like I did tonight.”
GW coach Justin Hacker said his players did not have school Friday and looked a little sleepy to him in the first half.
The Eagles didn’t look sleepy to Dowdy.
“In the nine years I’ve coached here, this is probably one of the better teams they’ve had,” the coach said. “To their credit, they played hard enough and well enough to make it a one-goal game for most of the night.”
The teams potentially could have a fourth game this season, but reclassification after this season will end their home-and-home regular-season series,
Hacker said he wouldn’t be opposed to playing an annual nonconference game with PH.
“It’s been a pretty good rivalry,” Dowdy said. “I wouldn’t rule out anything at this point.”
Patrick Henry 1-1—2
Scoring (Goals-assists), G.W.-Danville, McGeough 1-0. Patrick Henry, Grgic 1-0, Kovac 1-0, Agren 0-1.
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