Greenbrier High School's boys soccer season came to an end Wednesday night with a 3-2 loss to McIntosh in the Class AAA state tournament semifinals.
In front of a record crowd of 800 fans, the top two teams in the state battled for the second time this year.
McIntosh, ranked No. 2 in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, knocked off Greenbrier earlier this season on penalty kicks.
The Wolfpack, ranked No. 5 in the nation, fell in regulation this time despite taking an early 1-0 lead. Junior Pieter James scored with just more than 30 seconds off the clock on a throw-in rebound to gain a quick 1-0 advantage.
"It was very tough," McIntosh boys soccer coach Bunky Colvin said of the early goal. "Usually the first team to score is going to gain a lot of momentum the first 20 minutes, and it took us that long to get the momentum back."
McIntosh did eventually grab the momentum, riding the shoulders of senior Cameron Black. The starting midfielder scored three goals in the first half as the visiting Chiefs went from a one-goal deficit to a two-goal lead in a span of 24 minutes.
The hole was too big for the Wolfpack to overcome. Greenbrier mounted a strong effort at a comeback in the second half despite injuries and a staunch McIntosh defense.
Wolfpack senior Bobby Zimmerman played the entire game with a cracked rib that was further aggravated in the second half. Senior Will Dunaway complained of an injured achilles tendon at halftime and was visibly limping in the second half.
The two injured players refused to leave the field.
"Bobby had a cracked rib, and it was a testament to him just to get out here," Greenbrier boys soccer coach Chip Warren said. "He made that last run at the end of the game on defense. That was just amazing."
McIntosh advanced to Saturday's state championship game, while Greenbrier's season ended with a 20-2 record. It was the final high school soccer game for Wolfpack seniors Dallas Dickerson, Bobby Zimmerman, Brooks Duff, Will Dunaway, Chandler Swain, Damien Franz and Brad Powell.
"I couldn't be more proud of them." Warren said. "I felt like today was a state championship game. I think tonight we lost to the state champions."
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