Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

March 1, 2014

Pepito’s OT goal lifts Americus-Sumter past Worth County, Lady Panthers fall 6-1

SYLVESTER —  Americus-Sumter and Worth County have always had a healthy rivalry, and last year the Rams were the ones that claimed bragging rights in soccer by eliminating the Panthers from the Region 1-AAAA Soccer Tournament. Despite dropping the girl’s game to the Lady Rams on Tuesday night in Sylvester, Americus-Sumter gained some of those rights back by defeating Worth on their home field in a thrilling overtime contest.  

The Lady Panthers started the night off against a very talented Lady Ram team. Although Americus-Sumter was able to keep the game close for a while, the Lady Rams eventually pulled away on their home turf for a big 6-1 region victory. The Lady Panthers’ lone goal came from the foot of senior Shaquita Daniels.

With the opening game completed, the rival Rams and Panthers began to warm-up for their first showdown since the 2013 Region 1-AAAA Tournament. With each team return a strong roster this season, it was no surprise that the boys’ nightcap went all the way to the final buzzer in regulation, and then some.

The road match-up got off to a bit of a rough start for Americus-Sumter. The Panthers gave up two goals in the first 40 minutes of play, and they were not able to narrow that margin before the halftime intermission, resulting in a 2-0 Ram lead at the break.

The Panthers are not known to give up, however, and early in the second half they began to show their resilience. A breakaway goal by Edin Ancelmo cut the lead to 2-1, but a serious injury on the shot forced Americus-Sumter’s star player to head to the sideline for the remainder of the match.

Things only got worse from there as the Panthers soon drew a red card, forcing the visitors to play with just 10 men on the field. Despite the one man disadvantage, Jonathon Abarca was able to utilize his agility to score the game-tying goal late in regulation.

As the second half ended, Americus-Sumter and Worth County began to prepare for overtime following the 2-2 tie. Shortly into the overtime period, junior Tylen Pepito found the back of the Rams’ net with the game-winner, giving the Panthers a 3-2 victory and keeping their Region 1-AAAA record unblemished at 2-0.

“When Tylen scored the overtime goal, the players controlled the ball and played good defense to close the game out,” said Panther head coach Gregory Fowler. “That was a great region victory that was very exciting to watch.”

With the Panthers sitting at 2-0 in the region and the Lady Panthers sporting a 1-1 mark, Americus-Sumter will return to Region 1-AAAA action on Tuesday. The Lady Panthers and Panthers will travel to Albany to battle the Albany High Lady Indians and Indians. The girls’ game is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. with the boys following at approximately 7:30 p.m.

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