LITHIA — The anguish on the faces of Newsome's players following Friday's 3-2 loss to state power Auburndale in the Class 5A playoffs was proof that the Wolves weren't just happy to reach the program's first region final.
They wanted more.
"We could have won," Newsome coach Neal Rickmers said. "We had so many chances. This was a tough way to go down."
Newsome (17-5-3) battled until the end, and Joey Perfetto's penalty kick in the 73rd minute, which brought the Wolves within a goal, gave them a fighting chance.
Newsome had corner kicks in the 75th, 76th and 79th minutes, but came up empty each time, largely because of Auburndale (25-1-2) keeper Courtney Smith.
"He won them the game," Rickmers said.
From the start, it was clear Newsome meant business. In the third minute, Skylar Wilks headed a pass from Patrick Hacker into the net for a 1-0 lead.
"They surprised us," Auburndale coach Guy Jennings said.
Auburndale answered with a goal from Tyler Sample in the 11th, but after that Newsome controlled play for the better part of the next 47 minutes, creating numerous chances on offense while shutting down Auburndale's high-powered attack.
The problem was, the Wolves couldn't find the net.
"We had the whole second half but we couldn't get a goal," Rickmers said.
Newsome's failure to convert was costly.
Auburndale went ahead 2-1 in the 58th minute on a Mads Christensen goal, and made it 3-1 when Bruno Da Silva sneaked one in 12 minutes later. Shortly before Da Silva's goal, Newsome had a score wiped off by on offsides call.
"They saw what they saw," Rickmers said of the officials.