A late Franklin rally spoiled what looked to be a successful home opener Wednesday for Polk County’s boys soccer team.
The Panthers struck twice in the final six minutes, forcing a 2-2 with the Wolverines in a non-conference clash in G.M. Tennant Stadium.
Polk County (0-2-1), which played without three starters who were in quarantine, seemed set for its first win of the season, taking a first-half lead on Ben Korzelius’ penalty kick and doubling that margin early in the second half on an Amner Contreras goal.
But Franklin (1-2-2) found energy in reserve in the waning minutes. The Panthers began upping the pressure on Polk County’s defense and finally were rewarded with just over five minutes left as Luis Torres perfectly timed a deep run, taking a pass and getting a one-on-one with Polk goalkeeper Grayson Ball.
Ball was solid, often spectacular, for the entire evening, but Torres chipped the ball high and just inside the left post to cut Polk’s lead to 2-1.
The goal further fueled Franklin’s late fury, and the Panthers again found the net with just 1:44 left in regulation, scoring off a free kick from some 25 yards out.
“They scored that firsr goal and we lost our minds a bit,” said Polk County head coach Josh Trejo. “We had no composure and no energy.
“I thought Grayson Ball had a phenomenal game. He made some saves where he had to come out and be one on one. He showed a lot of courage in doing that.”
Ball finished the night with 23 saves.
Korzelius drew the penalty that led to his goal, dribbling through a pair of defenders on the left sideline, then continuing on into the penalty area and eventually drawing a foul from the Franklin goalkeeper. Korzelius chipped his penalty into the right side of the net for the one-goal advantage in the 29th minute.
A scramble off a corner kick early in the second half led to Polk’s next goal, with Contreras winning the race to a loose ball near the post and drilling it into the net for the 2-0 lead.
The Wolverines are now set to have a lengthy break, with their next action being Sept. 13, that the Mountain Foothills 7 Conference opener at Patton.