FORT MILL — The Fort Mill Yellow Jackets’ season came crashing down in the second round of the 4A playoffs after falling to JL Mann 2-1.
JL Mann, ranked No. 2 in the state, scored in the last minute of the match to get the win and advance to the semifinals. Fort Mill, ranked fifth in S.C., finished the season at 23-4-0.
The Jackets struggled to get to the second round after having to come from behind in the opening round of the playoffs against Wade Hampton. Fort Mill squeezed out a 2-1 win in two overtimes over Wade Hampton.
Fort Mill senior Brandon Runyan scored with seven minutes left in the second overtime on a corner kick that was deflected off Generals keeper Travis Prevatte to give the Jackets the game winner.
Jackets head coach Lloyd Chalker had a stern look on his face after the match despite the win.
“We didn’t play well at all,” Chalker said. “We made a mistake that gave them a goal. We didn’t finish opportunities that came our way. It’s frustrating because I know the boys are better than that. We got work to do.”
The Jackets struggled all game long to get anything going and didn’t score until the final minute of the game to tie things at 1-1 to send it into overtime.
The Generals opened the second half controlling the ball more, the direct opposite of the first half, as the two teams exited the first half scoreless.
Fort Mill did get a free kick with about 35 minutes left in regulation, but didn’t convert the opportunity. The Jackets also had a real good opportunity to score with about 28 minutes on a throw in, but lost the scramble in the box for the goal.
A more focused Generals team finally scored in the second half as a two-on-one double team of Jackets’ goalie Mason Jackson had him off balance as Generals’ junior Micah Klein knocked the ball in off a rebounded shot to put Wade Hampton up 1-0 with about 25 minutes left in the game.
After the goal, Fort Mill started pressing matters and with the rain starting to pour, the Generals’ defense stepped up to pack the box and hold the Jackets at bay.
Fort Mill had several attempts to try and tie the match as the clock winded down, but could never make anything happen until with under a minute left. It was then that Jackets’ junior Zach Lundy rocked the ball into the corner to tie it at 1-1.
Both teams went at each other pretty hard to open the match. Each team rattled off an early shot attempt and Fort Mill was able to thread the Generals defense easily. Although Fort Mill moved the ball with ease, Wade Hampton played aggressive and kept the Jackets from getting real good looks at open shots.
Fort Mill excelled at intercepting passes in the first half, which stalled any offense the Generals were trying to establish.
Frustration started getting to both squads with about 15 minutes left in the first half as the refs started giving out yellow cards.
The Jackets had their opportunities in the first half getting several free kicks and direct looks at the goal, but couldn’t convert, sending things into the locker room scoreless.