Dunbar Soccer State Champs: A Player’s Perspective

The stadium was packed with screaming fans. Not a glint of silver bleacher could be seen because of the masses. Dunbar was down 1-0 in the second half with the clock running out. Then with 3 minutes and 31 seconds left on the clock, senior Nelson Ng got the ball at the top of the box, a beautiful pass from senior Riley Calhoon, rips it low and hard and it hit the back of the net, just past the keeper’s hands. Dunbar tied it up. They had done the impossible. Most thought the game was over and the Trinity Shamrocks were going to take home the trophy, stealing the title yet again from the Bulldogs, but that was not the case.

My heart stopped; we had done it. We had given ourselves a chance to win. Once we put that away it was all downhill from there for Trinity. We attacked harder and faster than we ever had before, determined to score again. Three goals had already been revoked from us earlier in the game and we wanted that championship more than anyone. It went into overtime and Trinity was barely hanging on. 2, 3, 4 shots were saved by the keeper of hit the post. We were destroying them. It was only a matter of time before they caved.

Unfortunately there were only two 5 minute overtime halves, and we couldn’t finish them off in that short time, so it went into a penalty shootout. It was probably one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my entire life. A bold move was made by Dunbar–they put in a different keeper, the towering 6 foot 4 inches goalie, senior Nick Clark. Trinity missed their first shot and we were going crazy, we made the next two shots but then our third kicker missed, tying up the score. The next kicker for each team nailed the shot and it was down to the last kicker, one for each team. Trinity was up until Clark made the save on the hard shot to the top corner of the net. All our last kicker had to do was sink this shot and the title was ours. Sophomore Ricky Clemente walked up slowly, he looked at the crowd and then nodded. The next thing I remember the ball was in the back of the net and I was jumping running and screaming at the top of my lungs.

We had done it. The Dunbar Bulldogs, who had the title plucked out of their hands to a power house St. Xavier in a 1-0 loss last year, won the state championship. It had been 8 years since Dunbar had one state. The 2005 team had always been the idol and dream team that we aspired to be through my 4 years of playing on varsity. We had come so close and worked so hard, and now we have finally done it. We have won the state championship, which seemed so unattainable. This was coach Bretz’s 402 win and his 4th state championship so this was a huge deal for him as well as his players. It won’t be long before coach breaks the all-time win record for high school coaches in the state of Kentucky. We did it; we had won a state championship on our home field in front of thousands of our loyal fans. We are number 1, we are the best in the state this year and we are Dunbar.