TAMPA — In a sport where one unlucky deflection can doom a team, Hillsborough's misery was compounded Tuesday. On a cool night at Chelo Huerta Stadium, the Terriers (0-3) were victimized by a wicked bounce and bruise.
Facing a Hillsborough unit playing without star forward Kofi Forkuoh (right thigh bruise), Gaither (3-0) neutralized Hillsborough's offense and got two goals from junior Jordan See for a 4-1 triumph in a Class 6A, District 7 match.
See's first goal, in the 23rd minute, broke a 1-all tie and changed the complexion of the match. Positioned on the left side of the box, See hit a soft shot that bounced off the hands of veteran Terriers keeper Andrew Milian and rolled inside the near post.
"I just caught the keeper off-guard, I guess," See said.
Roughly one minute earlier, Terriers freshman Matthew Szabo had tied the score with a goal in front of the net on a Daniel Barboto assist.
"I think (See's goal) kind of changed the tempo of the game," Cowboys coach Eric Sims said. "For a good goalkeeper like that to give up a soft goal, mentally, you look at that and you can see it kind of deflated them a little bit."
Further deflation had occurred several minutes before, when Forkuoh was removed from the match by Hillsborough coach Steve Colborne. Forkuoh, who plays for Sims' elite Y-League team, had a noticeable limp and couldn't get any elevation.
"I couldn't run," he said.
That enabled Sims to man-mark Barboto — Hillsborough's other primary threat — and essentially play 10 against 10. The Terriers finished with seven shots.
Charlie Delmar and David Barrientos had Gaither's other goals, both off corner kicks.
"I wouldn't count (Hillsborough) out yet," Sims said, "because (Forkuoh) is that explosive and he's that dynamic."