Assistant Sports Editor
MANCHESTER -- The Burr and Burton Academy boys soccer team didn't just want to win their homecoming game against Rutland on Friday evening.
They needed it.
But coming in losers of two straight, and facing four straight away games, the Bulldogs found themselves down 2-0 to the Red Raiders after just 6 minutes of play.
Reason for concern?
Not for the Bulldogs.
"Right when we went two down, we knew we were going to come back and win it," sophomore Wes Lord said. "We weren't going to stop."
And they surely made a come back. By half, the team had tied the game up. Then, in the second half, Johnny Weeks was able to bag the winner after Bowie Pugliese made a bombing run down the left from the fullback position and put a cross into the box that Rutland could not clear. Weeks was waiting, and when the ball came to him he opened up his right boot and swung through, giving BBA a 3-2 lead they would hold onto until the final whistle.
"We have had to deal with adversity and tough luck all year," coach Peter Mull said. "When we went down, I knew we could still claw our way back into it."
Rutland would take the lead within the first 20 seconds of play. After Julian Marcell hit the crossbar, Peter Lynn was waiting in the box for the rebound, and stabbed the ball home for the early lead.
"I was very happy with the start of the game, getting that early goal," Rutland coach Ron Henderson said. "I was hoping that was going to be a sign of things to come."
Rutland would double the lead 5 minutes later. This time, Sam Brochu played a pass to Colin Clark, who was able to put the ball into the net to make it a 2-0 game.
"After the first goal, BBA held possession for a while. Going 2-0 up, I thought we were fortunate," Henderson said.
But from the restart to that goal on, the Bulldogs were able to snatch control of the game.
With Reid Conde pulling the strings in the midfield, BBA started pushing forward.
The breakthrough came just before the midway point in the half. Jacob Bazyk came charging down the right side of the field and put a cross into the box looking for Lord. Rutland keeper Ethan Snitker went to try and snatch the ball out of the air, but could only get a hand on it. As the ball fell back to the grass, Lord was waiting and he poked the ball home, making it 2-1.
"Tonight, we finally started finishing," Mull said. "We have had good buildup all season, but we are finally starting to finish well."
Rutland would come close to scoring the fourth goal of the match when Brochu put a dangerous looking cross into the box, but Will Helmetag was able to boot the ball clear before an opportunity for Rutland arose.
It proved to be a vital clearance, as minutes later the Bulldogs pulled level.
This time, Weeks started the play. Stealing the ball from a defender inside the Rutland penalty area, Weeks turned and centered the ball to Lord, who then turned and laid the ball off to Conde to smash home, making it 2-2 heading into the half.
In the second, Pugliese set up the winner with his run down the left. His cross looked to be snuffed out, but the Rutland defender lost his footing and could only hit the ball to the edge of the box. Given the golden chance, Weeks simply opened up the inside of his boot and swung, tucking the ball inside the right post.
"Bowie was phenominal. I know he was frustrated at the beginning because he blamed himself for those two goals, but the way he picked himself up, and the run he made, he made that happen," Mull said.
After the game, Mull praised his side for the 80 minutes of soccer they played.
"I have been waiting for all of [the stuff we work on] to kick in, and tonight it did," Mull said. "That was the two best halves of soccer I have seen, except for those first few minutes."
The Bulldogs move to 4-4-1 on the year, while Rutland falls to 1-6-1.