| Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
Already pretty firmly anchored in the playoffs, Bartlesville High’s Lady Bruin footballers erased all doubts Monday night by driving the Ponca City Lady Wildcats out of Custer Stadium with a 2-1 loss.
Bartlesville scored both goals in the last 20 minutes to improve to 10-5 and secured the number 3 playoffs from District 6A-4 with a 5-2 record.
Had they lost, the Lady Bruins could end up in a 4-3 draw for third and fourth place and possibly be excluded from the playoffs.
But Zoe McCabe’s goal, less than 15 minutes from time, brought the Lady Bruins to victory.
Bartlesville and Ponca City had stalled 0-0 at halftime and resumed their goalless dance about 20 minutes into the second half.
Eva Sigler, who had just removed the match from her injury list, scored the goal to give Bartlesville a 1-0 lead.
“She cut the ball over 18 and was able to hit the goalkeeper on her left and … shoot into the lower right corner,” recalled Bartlesville head coach Aaron Kuntz.
About six minutes later, McCabe brought the ball into the corner of the box, escaping a defender, and putting the ball into the side of the net with his left foot for the second goal and a 2-0 lead.
Ponca City avoided the shutout with a score in the last 10 seconds.
“I thought our defense played well,” said Kuntz. “The wind was challenging but our girls did a good job all night. The win limited our chances of scoring.”
Sawyer Kirkland protected the net for Bartlesville and Addie Dilbeck “played an important game for us,” said Kuntz.
Dilbeck, a transfer from Ponca City, “did a great job at the center all night,” added the manager.
Bartlesville recorded his third straight win with one goal and fourth in his last five games.
The Lady Bruins have set a 4-1 record in one-goal decisions this season.
After the match, Lady Bruin honored the seniors along with family members. The team’s eight twelfth graders are Dilbeck, Kaitlin Littau, Ashley Ramsey, Mackenzie Duhon, Katelyn Leeper, McKenzie Cummings, Cam Cotner, and Yhanna Osborn.
Your first-round playoff opponent will be against either Tulsa Union or Broken Arrow.
For the doubters of fate, there is such a thing as bad luck.
It haunted the Bartlesville High Boys football team this season like a sack of bad pennies, a gathering of black cats, and a hailstorm on an outdoor wedding cake.
It seemed like some of the Bruins’ game dates that year should have included a Hypen-13 as an addendum.
Monday’s senior night battle proved one of those frustrating outcomes.
For the sixth time this season – and for the fifth time in district games – the Bruins lost by one goal.
Ponca City rallied in extra time to beat the Bruins 2-1 and end a tough campaign marked by loss to injury or other causes from key players and just plain bad luck.
“We played a lot better than them, we just couldn’t score,” said Bruins sophomore coach Anthony Tucker. “In the second half we had possession 90 percent of the time. We probably had 30 shots on the frame.”
In their favor, Tuckers Bruins still finished an overall win record (8-7) despite the difficult ending last month.
And they had made a handful of tight choices too.
In total, they fought in eleven games that were decided by one goal – and won four of them.
The rough turn of fate tweaked them the hardest during the crucial part of the season in District 6A-4. They finished the district 2-5 – two wins with identical 5-0 results and the other five with one goal, three of them in overtime.
But there were also many highlights this season – beating a tough Rogers Heritage (Ark.) Squad 2-1 at the season opener; Remove Owasso 1-0 in the Edison tournament; and three in a row against Sand Springs (4-2), East Central (1-0) and Metro Christian (3-2) to win.
All three of these teams have won records, including a 10-3 mark from East Central which ended undefeated (7-0) in their district class 5A game and is one of the contenders for the national title in their class.
But when the Bruins started the district game, the dance started with mischief, starting with a 2-1 loss in extra time at Owasso.
Looking ahead to next year, Tucker is returning the majority of the players from this year’s roster, including his two-year starting goalkeeper in Cameron Molder and other key producers.
But he also has some key positions that are still open from his graduating seniors, including Captains John Covell and Tanner Benbrook. Other bruin seniors who have finished their prep careers include Dylan McCoy, Mack Vaclaw, Nathan Dreher, Logan Brownell, Jeyson Nataren, Brandon Bulleigh, and Freddie Aranda.