This year, there was a different feeling as the Decatur boys soccer team left the field at Austin High.
For the first time in three years, the Red Raiders beat Austin with the 2-1 win Thursday night.
After the game was tied 1-1 at halftime, Deacon Iverson passed the ball up the left side of the field, finding Carlos Carbajal.
“I saw him when I got the ball. I turned around and I saw him widen up and then he made that cut in through, so I gave it to him,” Iverson said. “When he got the ball, it was all him from there.”
Carbajal’s kick hit the right goal post and slid in past Austin keeper Jacob Gomez for the game-winning goal.
“We were tied. We had to do it. We’ve been waiting for this for three years,” Carbajal said.
Defender John Maness opened the scoring for Decatur in the first half. Drew Douthit brought the ball down the field for the Red Raiders, but it was kicked out of play. Maness found it on the throw in, launching it just over the keeper’s hands, netting it in the left side.
“He’s totally turned it around this year. He’s learned how to play the team concept,” Decatur coach Aaron Batchelder said of Maness’ progress this season. “He’s a player to reckon with now.”
Jonathan Ramirez scored the lone goal for the Black Bears on a penalty kick. Gomez made seven saves for Austin, while Max Ackley made as many for Decatur.
Batchelder worked with the Red Raiders for the past two seasons, but is now in his first year as head coach.
“It means a lot. I’m about to pop,” he said of the win.
But besides the rivalry, Batchelder said the victory made up for the Red Raiders’ 3-2 loss to James Clemens earlier this week.
“We talked all week about finishing. We talked all week about that last game being a learning experience and turning it into a positive,” he said. “We decided that if we could come out with a victory tonight and finish the game, then it was all worth it.”
With the win, Decatur improves to 3-2 for the season, while Austin falls to 4-1-1.
On Tuesday, Decatur visits Hartselle at 5:30 p.m., while Austin hosts Buckhorn at 7 p.m.
Meredith Qualls can be reached at 256-340-2395 or email@example.com.
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