On the second day of the Nike Palmetto Cup, Brookland-Cayce’s first half play was as dismal as the rainy weather during its match against Gaffney.
But, led by two goals from Tyler Brazzell, the Bearcats pulled out a 3-2 win over the Indians, using the final 20 minutes for their comeback.
“We got yelled at a little bit at half time, so we went back out just knowing we had to win the game,” said Brazzell, a junior.
The Bearcats had slipped into a 2-0 hole in the first half, and coach Kevin Heise was none too pleased.
“We played as poor a first half as I’ve ever seen,” said Heise, who told his team they might as well be hosts of the tournament only and surrender their spot in the competition.
“Sometimes, you’ve got to challenge your team’s pride a little bit. And they responded the way a team should,” he said.
With their typical three-dimensional game slightly hampered by the wind and rain, the Bearcats waged a determined, physical campaign in the second half to begin their rally.
Then, with about 20 minutes to go, Herbert Cojulun found Brazzell for a clean shot from the front of the goal.
“Once we got that goal, we felt like we were in good position because we had the momentum,” Brazzell said.
With Gaffney on its heels, Brookland-Cayce struck again nine minutes later, this time with Brazzell finishing off a set play with a game-tying header.
From there, Heise knew his team would play all out for the win.
With four minutes remaining, the coach was proven right.
Scottie Newman booted in a shot that ricocheted off the far post into the back of the goal to secure the victory for the Bearcats.
“You couldn’t have scripted it better,” Heise said.
Gaffney had scored its two goals in the first 30 minutes, but was unable to keep pressure on the Bearcat defense in the second half.
Brookland-Cayce, 2-0 in the tournament, faces Walhalla today at 6 p.m. The championship game is on Saturday at 5 p.m.