MOULTRIE — Colquitt County’s battered boys soccer team came up short in its first-round state playoff game on Friday, falling to Tucker High 3-2 at Hallford Stadium in Clarkston.
The Packers had five players who were injured and had to be taken from the field during a physical contest in which the deciding goal was scored after the Tigers were awarded a controversial penalty kick.
With the loss, the young Packers finish the season with a 9-9-1 record.
Tucker scored the first goal of the game in the seventh minute, but the Packers responded quickly, when senior Jason Nunez scored two minutes later.
The game was tied 1-1 at the half, but four minutes into the second 40-minute period, the Region 2 runner-up Tigers were awarded a penalty kick on a hand ball in the box.
Colquitt County coach Jimbo Jarvis contended the Packer player was trying to shield his face with his arms when the ball struck him, but to no avail.
Tucker converted the penalty kick and added another score in the 65th minute to go up 3-1.
The Packers pulled to within one on a penalty kick by senior Garrett Moore with a minute left.
But the Packers could get no closer.
“We played pretty well,” Jarvis said. “We had some opportunities. But our biggest problem was that we kept losing players. Tucker was very physical.”
Bryan Gallardo went down early in the second half. Jose Moreno was hit in the eye. Rayman Garcia hurt his knee and had to be carried from field.
Moore and Ryan Littleton also were injured in the game.
“They just kept going down, one after the other,” Jarvis said. “Some of them were called. There were some yellow cards. But the ones on Rayman and Bryan should have been red cards. They were malicious from behind.”
Jarvis also said the hand ball call was “very, very questionable.”
Jarvis said Tucker was the fastest team the Packers had seen this season.
“They could flat out run,” he said. “We didn’t anticipate that they would be able to move up the middle as fast as they did.”
“But I am proud of the way we played,” Jarvis said. “It was a great learning experience for these young kids. They got thrown in the fire.”
Jarvis said he is proud of how his seniors mentored the young players and he is looking forward to the next three seasons.