SEMINOLE — Clearwater's boys soccer team has kept games close, even held a lead against some of the county's elite programs this season. But the Tornadoes have found ways to falter down the stretch.
So after leading 1-0 against defending Class 5A state finalist Seminole in the final 10 minutes of Monday's match, Clearwater watched in disbelief as it allowed Seminole to tie the match.
This time, though, the Tornadoes had the wherewithal to come back as Jarrett Lyons scored the winner with just less than two minutes remaining in a 2-1 victory.
It is the first time Clearwater (2-4-1) has beaten the Warhawks in nine seasons.
"This win was a long time coming for this program," Tornadoes coach Anne Pekrul said.
Clearwater was on the verge of beating Seminole last week but let a 2-1 lead slip away in the second half.
On Monday, both teams were locked in a scoreless struggle through 70 minutes.
Then in the final 10 minutes came a flurry of shots, and goals.
Kyle Walsh scored at the 70-minute mark to give the Tornadoes a 1-0 lead.
The Warhawks (2-5) countered as Kevin Nota scored with 6:41 left to tie it.
In the final two minutes, Lyons came through with a shot that put Clearwater ahead for good. It was his first goal of the season.
"I really needed to score and I picked the right time to do it," Lyons said. "I just tried to stay calm, finish low and keep the ball on the ground. Beating Seminole was something we knew we could do. I just never realized it had been that long since the school did that."
Seminole had chances to tie the score at the end. But a free kick sailed wide and another shot was saved by the Tornadoes in the final minute.
"It was a tough one to lose, but Clearwater seemed to want it more," Warhawks coach Rick Masi said. "We have a young team and they gave a good effort to tie the game. But Clearwater came out with a lot of spit and vinegar after we beat them and played hard to win."