Fellowship Christian senior Brad Rodgers scored with just over 13 minutes to play in the second half and the Paladins held on to defeat the Darlington Tigers 3-2 on a frigid Wednesday night in Roswell.
“I came into it thinking if we play our best game of the season, I’ll be happy and I think we did,” Tigers head coach Matthew Enderle said. “They can’t hang their heads. They should be proud of how they played tonight.”
Darlington trailed three times during the game, twice coming back to tie the game.
Fellowship Christian’s Ethan Durham opened the scoring less than 10 minutes into the game, but Darlington junior Charlie Jones knotted the game 1-1 about halfway through the first 40 minutes.
Minutes into the second half, it was Durham again for the Paladins, this time less than five minutes in. But the Tigers had a response, when junior Alan Cordero tied the game 2-2.
“My assistant coach (Justin Bruce) said it just a second ago,” Enderle said. “It’s almost like they need that challenge to turn on their best play and so when they go down, that’s when we see them dig deep and play really hard. It’s fun to watch.”
After Rodgers’ tally, Darlington’s best chance to tie the contest on a third occasion came with just over nine minutes to play. Cordero got by a Paladin defender and went in on goal on a breakaway down the left side, but shot the ball right into the waiting arms of the Fellowship keeper.
For Darlington’s 10 seniors, their time on the field in a Tiger uniform has come to an end. Enderle, in his first season as head coach, referred to them as “a special group.”
“We won’t have that (number of seniors) again for a while, so it was special,” Enderle said. “They had a great season.”
Darlington and Fellowship Christian last met in the playoffs in 2018, a 3-1 Tigers loss.