A clutch goal by Ryan Howg with 3:25 left in regulation for Rogers resulted in a 2-2 tie Saturday in the first-ever boys soccer match between the Royals and the Elk River Elks.
Elk River's Ryan Wilsey (17) and Levi Lutz (left) chase the ball with Rogers' Jaziel Silverness (19) and Josh Provo and the Elks' Trent Thompson in pursuit. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Bragging rights will have to wait another year when it comes to Rogers vs. Elk River boys soccer. The two programs met on the field for the first time Saturday and stalemated 2-2, with Ryan Howg of Rogers knotting the score with 3:25 left, at Elk River.
"It meant a lot to get to play them," said Howg, one of many seniors on both sides who've played on the same team several times over the years. "Nobody got bragging rights yet, but it was a lot of fun. Most fun thing I've ever done in soccer."
It's the fifth year of Rogers soccer. A match has been talked about before and this year it happened.
Dav id Roden of Rogers handled the ball between Elk River's Dylan Gould (3) and Lucas Werner. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
"We've been waiting for this game for a couple years now," said Chris Miller, Rogers coach. "Last year he had a game free but I didn't. We decided to schedule it this year … We're going to start it up every year."
Elk River led 2-0 after just 10 minutes, then got stymied the rest of the way. A brisk, warm wind was a key factor. The Elks had it at their backs in the first half. Rogers pulled within 2-1 before halftime, and had the upper hand in the second half with the wind.
"In the long run, a tie between these guys, who are all good friends who played together many years, it's OK," said Tom Olson, Elk River coach. "All the guys are disappointed because they wanted to win, especially after the good start we had. But Rogers is a good team. They've got a real good offense."
Elk River extended its unbeaten streak to give games (three wins, two ties). The Elks are 6-6-3 overall and Rogers 10-3-1.
Goalkeepers Cody Thran of the Elks and Tom Schummer of the Royals each made several nice saves. The Elks outshot the Royals 19 to 12.
The Elks scored just 50 seconds into the match as Trent Thompson headed a ball into the net after Jake Wolf steered a corner kick right to him. Then Dylan Gould connected on a penalty kick with 10 minutes elapsed after being taken down in the box.
"We had opportunities after that," said Olson "but Schummer made some great saves, and we had a lot of shots go wide or hit defenders."
Rogers made it 2-1 on a Jordan Larson header off the post, set up by Jaziel Siverness.
With the clock winding down inside four minutes, the Royals put some pressure on the goal. Howg got the ball right out front with Silverness dropping a pass from the outside.
"I saw the goalkeeper cheating toward the post so I tried to place it in the far post," said Howg, "and somehow it went right in."
The tie held up through the final three minutes, then two five-minute overtimes.
Elk River will play at Osseo on Tuesday. Rogers will host Big Lake on Monday.