Threatening weather did not prevent a great crowd from showing up at the Horn on a Saturday night to cheer on the Lambert Boys in the quarterfinals of the GHSA state playoffs. A tight defensive battle soon opened up in the second half but the clock ran out on the Longhorns as Walton won the match 2-1, ending Lambert's season.
Both teams played stifling defense, with neither side allowing a serious chance on goal in the first half. Walton got the better of the possession in the opening frame, but the Lambert defense turned them away time and again. The half ended 0-0.
The second half started the same way as the first, with Lambert ceding most of the possession. But facing wave after wave from Walton, it seemed only a matter of time before they broke through. In the 55th minute, a Walton player was open in front of the net and got an attempt on goal. Lambert goalkeeper Avery Dekshenieks made a point-blank save, but the rebound fell to a Walton player who deposited it in the net to put the visitors up 1-0.
That seemed to wake up the Longhorns and they started to win the 50-50 balls and began to make things happen on the other end. Unfortunately, a turnover in midfield sent Walton on a three-on-three counter attack. Just inside the box, the Walton forward sent a low shot to the corner to put Walton up 2-0.
The final 20 minutes were all Lambert as they dominated possession and the run of play. Great work by Logan Racine and Christian Girard on the left wing allowed Girard to send a perfect cross in front of the goal where Eoin Griffiths hit it first time into the net to bring it back to 2-1. It was Griffiths' 26th goal of the season, and it energized the team and fans. The final minutes were frantic as Lambert threw everything forward in an attempt to equalize.
The clock ran out on the game and the Longhorn Boys' season with a 2-1 loss. For the Lambert seniors, it was bittersweet. Having captured the region championship and winning two playoff games for the first time since 2013, they have plenty to be proud of. You just never want the run to end.