Before the start of the second half of Tuesday night's soccer game between Lawrence High and Olathe South, Falcons coach Will Stoskopf told his team: "Let's go, Blue. You're knocking on the door."
Olathe South knocked, pushed and pounded on the door, but couldn't put the ball in the net until the final three minutes of the game. Then Falcons pulled out a 1-0 victory to spoil the Lions' Senior Night at the Youth Sports Inc. fields.
The Falcons had eight shots on goal, but had about 10 other opportunities sail just right, left or high off the crossbar. Yet Olathe South (10-6) couldn't buy a goal until nearly 78 minutes ticked away.
A large amount of the Falcons' frustration was due to the noteworthy play of LHS sophomore Colin Flanders who did everything in his power to keep a zero on the opposition's side of the scoreboard.
"We wanted to come out hard because it was Senior Night," Flanders said.
The Lions (2-13) had another motivating factor, namely an 8-0 pounding last season during the Falcons' Senior Night.
"We might as well leave it all out on the field," said Brett Courtney, one of eight LHS seniors. "This team beat us 8-0 last year. We we're not going to let them embarrass us this year."
Courtney added that the game "was kind of an emotional thing."
"I think a lot of us have played at YSI since we were in kindergarten," he said.
The lone goal of the game came just before the 78th minute when Olathe South's Andy Howard centered a pass to Jake Allison deep near the LHS goal. Flanders went to slide for the ball as Allison, unmarked, almost ran into the Lions' goal going for the score.
"We just were on a counter (attack), and we still almost defended it," LHS coach David Platt said of the goal.
The Lions will close out the regular season Thursday at Shawnee Mission South. The team will find out its opening-round playoff assignment on Saturday.
"We really don't think of our record as a losing record," Flanders said. "We're just looking toward the postseason and coming out hard."