SYRACUSE – The year was 2003. Barack Obama was an Illinois State Senator, Pluto was still considered a planet and Wawasee had beaten Warsaw in boys soccer. It took 12 years, 11 losses and one draw but the Warriors managed to put a mark back in the win column against their county rivals Saturday afternoon. Wawasee scored in the first half and managed to protect that lead for over 51 minutes to hold on to a 1-0 victory over the visiting Tigers.
It was a physical game, which was to be expected between these two familiar foes, but that physicality played a bigger part this time around as it directly led to big momentum swings in the contest. Wawasee broke the nil-nil tie in the first half thanks to a gutsy run from Zeb Glon. The junior had his sights set on netting a goal as he approached a charging Warsaw keeper, Thomas Rivera. Glon collided with Rivera and the ball rolled into the goal, giving Wawasee a 1-0 lead.
Rivera was issued a yellow card for “intent to harm” with his cleats apparently aimed for Glon prior to the collision. The call appeared questionable at best. But it gave Wawasee a lead nonetheless. Glon was injured on the play and was helped off the field by his coach while the Warriors returned to the field now defending that lead.
Caleb Glon, Wawasee’s keeper, went to work over the remaining stretch of the game to protect his team’s lead. Glon made several key saves to keep Warsaw stuck at zero, especially after halftime when tensions were even higher. Glon let one ball get by him in what would be a bizarre and important turn of events.
Following a collision between a Warsaw and Wawasee player a whistle clearly blew for a foul which should have stopped play. The majority of the players on the field stopped playing until the head referee motioned for them to continue play, Glon was caught out of position which allowed Joaquin Juarez to net an equalizer for the Tigers, or so it seemed.
Wawasee’s sideline argued that there was a whistle for a foul before the goal, which there was. After a conference between officials, the goal was taken off the board and Wawasee retained its lead with 25:11 left in the game.
The reversed call sent Warsaw’s fans, sideline and players into a frenzy and led to a red card of assistant coach James Hornaday.
“I hate to see the referee play a part in the outcome of a game,” said Warsaw head coach Frank Courtois. “This game shows what level of referee we’ve been getting here. You can’t be making calls and then reversing those calls. If we score a goal and you says it’s a goal, then it’s a goal. But, we can’t go back and dwell on that. That just tells you about the level of referee that we have in this area.”
Courtois had reason to be upset as the red card on Hornaday seemed harsh. The officiating was appeared to be inconsistent at times. Regardless of what calls were or were not made, Wawasee still had to do enough to win and it did.
“It’s just nice that our boys could finish out a game like this,” began an ecstatic Jordan Sharp, Wawasee’s head coach. “This is a big win for our guys going into the end of the season and ultimately into the postseason. It’s a huge boost for them. I’m a very happy coach right now.”
Wawasee (4-9-1, 1-4) will host Northridge Tuesday, Warsaw (2-12, 0-6) will host Carroll.