Rangers unable to overcome early deficit

Photo by Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Forest Park seniors Jace Bieker, Garret Jochem and Bryson Weyer accept the game ball from Northeast Dubois athletic director Terry Friedman following Saturday's Class 1A boys soccer sectional championship in Dubois. South Spencer defeated Forest Park 3-2 as the Rangers were unable to overcome an early 2-0 deficit. For more photos from the championship match, click here.


DUBOIS — Heading into this year’s Class 1A boys soccer sectional at Dubois, Forest Park knew they had just as much of a chance as anyone to hoist the sectional trophy.

But in Saturday’s sectional championship against South Spencer, the Rangers fell behind early and never fully recovered as it was the Rebels screaming and yelling with the championship trophy instead of them — something that will stick with Forest Park for awhile.

“This one just really stings,” said head coach Mike Foerster following the Rangers 3-2 loss to the Rebels. “We dug ourselves a hole tonight going down 2-0 early but we didn’t give up though and I’m extremely proud of the boys for hanging in there and that’s what Rangers do — but this one hurts.”

South Spencer nearly got on the board in the first five minutes but saw their first goal come at the 31:11 mark as Garrett Kirchgessner’s goal quickly made it 1-0 Rebels. Less than 10 minutes later South Spencer got on the board again as Lucky Kirchgessner made it 2-0 Rebels.

However, Forest Park would quickly fight back to pull within striking distance as freshman Spenser Wolf got the Rangers on the board with 11:21 remaining in the first half to make it a close match at the break.

One of the major turning points of the match came at the 28:35 point in the second half when Forest Park’s Ben Kluesner was called for a yellow card on a sliding tackle in the box that gave South Spencer’s Tyler Basham a penalty kick. Basham converted on the kick to give the Rebels a 3-1 lead but once again, Forest Park refused to back down. With 11:21 remaining, JD Kerber scored to trim the lead to 3-2 but the Rangers were unable to get one final goal in as the remainder of the game picked up intensity and got more and more physical as the match came to a close.

The loss meant the end of three players high school soccer careers — Garrett Jochem, Jace Bieker and Bryson Weyer. All three seniors spoke to the rest of the team after the loss and told them to keep their heads high and to focus on the future. But Foerster can’t help but wish those seniors would’ve been able to hoist a sectional championship trophy.

“I told the rest of the boys, look at (the senior players) faces. You don’t want that to happen to you next year,” Foerster said. “I know those guys were great role models for the rest of the boys. I feel so bad for those seniors because man, we just worked so hard.”

The biggest positive for the Rangers is that they’ll bring back a plethora of key players from this year’s team including goalkeeper Zach Wahl and top scorers Hunter Helming and Tyler Berger.

Foerster hopes his guys learn from what happened this season and come back hungry next year with the goal to be the team that’s celebrating at the end of the sectional instead of being the ones shocked and saddened.

 “Our underclassmen are really strong and I expect us to have a very good season next year,” Foerster said. “I hope the boys work hard in the offseason and take it to heart to put in the effort and the work so that this doesn’t happen again.”

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