The Class 2A-9 showdown between visiting Clearwater Central Catholic and St. Petersburg Catholic was supposed to clear things up in a highly competitive district. Instead, it just made things murkier.
Both schools traded near misses for 80 minutes, and the tie means both still have a chance to win a district that includes Tampa Prep, Tampa Catholic and Berkeley Prep.
"It makes January very important for every one in our district," said CCC assistant Sean Hampsey, who filled in while coach Frank Seidl was away on business.
There were several close calls. Just four minutes in, Luis Ycaza ripped a shot for the Barons (5-2-2) that sailed just over the crossbar. In the seventh minute, CCC's Austin Lee saw a shot from 8 yards saved by Jake Friske.
The Marauders (5-3-3) had two more near misses in the first half, including a shot by Alex Thompson in extra time that hit the cross bar.
The second half was more of the same. CCC's Kevin Harris saw a shot from point-blank range saved by Friske with 17 minutes left. Two minutes later, Harris was fouled just outside the 18-yard box, but Thompson's free kick went over the goal.
CCC's Dominic Girchan came up with three big saves in the final five minutes. He saved a shot while on the ground with five minutes left then made two more point-blank saves, including one on Emilio Ycaza with three minutes left.
"We knew it was going to be the old-school rivalry reunited," Hampsey said. "We knew they had a solid team. All of the teams in our district are very evenly match. Our mentality in this one was whichever team was more intense, more physical and first to the ball was going to win. That's what this was for 80 minutes, very intense."
While a tie isn't a loss, SPC coach Will Summer said it felt like one.
"It feels like it's been a long week," Summer said. "We've had three games this week. It shouldn't make a difference, but maybe it did. It can't be an excuse. It was a nice, even game. I think the result was fair. But it's disappointing to us."