Big second half keeps Bobcats alone in first place

Published 11:41 pm Wednesday, September 13, 2023

NILES — A six-goal second half kept the Brandywine Bobcats atop the Lakeland Conference standings Wednesday night.

The host Bobcats and Dowagiac, the defending league champion, were deadlocked at 3-3 at the intermission. Brandywine scored two quick goals to open the final 40 minutes and went on to defeat the Chieftains 9-4, eliminating Dowagiac from a shot at defending its title.

With Brandywine’s win and Berrien Springs’ 2-1 win over Buchanan, the Bobcats are alone in first place in the conference standings. The Bucks are a game back at 1-1-1. The Shamrocks are in third with a 1-2-0 records and Dowagiac is in fourth place with a 1-3-0 record.

“A first half 3-3 battle turned into a second half win 9-4 for the Bobcats with a strong team defensive effort that wore down the Chieftains,” said Brandywine Coach Caleb Adams. “The Bobcats again distributed the scoring throughout the team with a hard-pressing offense. We defend together and we win together.”

Emmanuel Mendoza put the Bobcats on the board first, which was short lived as Dowagiac’s Austin Hart scored to tie the match at 1-1. Drew Deming made it 2-1 in favor of Brandywine only to have the Chieftains rally again to tie the score at 2-2 with a goal by Andres Hernandez.

A goal each — by the Bobcats’ Kyle Marshall and Dowagiac’s AJ Munson — left the two teams tie at halftime.

It was all Brandywine in the final 40 minutes.

The Bobcats got another goal from Marshall, two goals and three assists by Robby Dillard and two goals by Duane Thompson. Hunter Inman scored the other goal for Brandywine.

The Chieftains’ lone goal came off the foot of Hernandez.

Dowagiac Coach Joey Pasternak was displeased with his team’s effort Wednesday.

“We lacked the energy and heart it takes to win games today,” he said. “From warmups, we didn’t have it. It was an embarrassing effort today. As a group, we didn’t do any of the things we had practiced over the last couple weeks, and still have yet to come together as a team. Injuries have hit us hard and we’re missing a few key players, but we still have a solid group of guys that we should be doing a lot better than what we are.”

Brandywine outshot Dowagiac 32-9.