Newton soccer used two second half goals to come from behind to defeat Rose Hill 2-1 in Dust Bowl 2012.
The sport does not change, but the whirling conditions can. Thursday's game was highlighted early by blustering winds, bringing a maelstrom of dust and a chill to the air.
“I think we were just warming up, getting used to the field and the weather,” said Newton midfielder Peter Nelson. “The second half is usually when we come and kick it into gear.”
A bland first half saw little advantage for either team, with Rose Hill getting a couple rips at the goal late.
Both offenses revved up for the final 40 minutes.
Christian Helmke settled a header off a teammate's head, then mashed it into the back of the net to put Rose Hill ahead 1-0.
“I got angry there, because I was blocking the guy that scored,” Nelson said. “I had to come back and play hard.”
Within seconds, Nelson won a scramble in front of Rose Hill keeper Aaron Parrott, pushing in the equalizer.
Shots continued to be exchanged, but a miscue turned the game with 10 minutes to go.
Newton sent the ball near the Rocket goal. Austin Herold tried to corral it, but Carlos Reyes dashed in for the steal. A quick set and shot seared in, pushing Newton ahead 2-1.
“You just have to be there at the right spot for those crosses,” Reyes said. “It was easy. It was a mistake and I took advantage of it.”
Rose Hill rushed its offense forward to try to answer in the final minutes, but found little room to roam. A potential breakaway was thwarted with three minutes to go by a sliding poke from David Jantz.
The victory was fitting for the Railers. The squad has been defined by its 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 losses. There was some cosmic karma in the reversal of fortunes.
“It feels really good,” said Newton head coach Scott Jantzi. “We work on patterns and putting the ball where it needs to be and connecting those passes. The one thing we struggled with all season was finishing up top. Tonight, it came.”
For seeding purposes, a win or a loss meant little for the Rockets. That did not soothe the team after too many mistakes on fundamentals.
“Failure to clear equals goals for the other team. That's exactly what happened,” said Rose Hill head coach Jerry Treat. “Hats off to them for coming back and taking it from us.”
Both teams are finished with the regular season. Newton enters regionals at 9-6-1, while Rose Hill is 12-4.