MUSTANG — It may be forgivable, yet nor is it the best recipe for posting an upset tantalizingly within reach. Consider it a lesson learned for the Norman High boys.
At the Bronco Cup to face No. 1 Jenks, the No. 6 Tigers were 15 minutes from topping the Trojans.
A couple defensive breakdowns later — and not even a minute’s worth of clock time — it was Jenks with the lead. The Trojans kept it and walked away 2-1 winners.
The loss dropped the Tigers to 2-2 on the season, while the Trojans moved to 4-1. NHS can still get to 4-2 before the Bronco Cup concludes, with games coming up against Guymon at 2 p.m. today and Owasso at noon Saturday.
“If we become passive on defense, if we lose runners,” NHS coach Gordon Drummond told his team moments after the game, “we get punished.”
That was the case with Jenks’ tying goal, when Whitney Gonsalves found space wide and to NHS keeper Austin Earley’s left and let loose with a wicket crossing shot toward the net’s bottom corner to Earley’s right. In full dive, Earley stopped it but couldn’t corral it.
Gonsalves' teammate, Andrew Cass, was the runner the Tiger defense left free, and his putback of Gonsalves’ miss was as easy as a point-blank layup.
Just 42 seconds later, 30 seconds of which Jenks seemed to control the ball just above the Tiger penalty box, the Trojans notched the winner.
This time, NHS simply failed to meet the challenge, dropping too deep into its own box to deter the Trojan opportunity.
“We’ve gone over this,” Drummond said. “You cannot keep dropping (into the penalty box) against people’s basic front. That guy hit a fantastic shot."
The shot covered about 23 yards and came off the right foot of Jenks’ Alex Harris.
It all happened just 8 minutes after the Tigers took the game’s first lead at what appeared to be a very opportune time.