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Tigers honor their own with victories
Chris Schuster was laid out when he tried a goal with a corner kick in Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Johnson. - photo by By Patty Leon / Coastal Courier
After losing to Windsor Forest and defeating Beach by forfeit the Bradwell Tigers got two wins against Johnson High Tuesday night, but were playing for more.
The Men Tigers polarized the Johnson High Atomsmashers 3-0 and the Lady Tigers won 2-0 in honor of Bradwell’s junior varsity co-captain cheerleader Danielle Burill. Burill, who passed away suddenly on March 29, has a twin sister Allyson who is on the Lady Tiger soccer squad.
As he discussed the games leading up to Johnson, Tiger coach Greg Cooke said his squad was thoroughly exhausted when they were set to face Windsor Forest on March 20.
“We were beaten up and had some injuries,” he said. “It was the last game before having a week off and our guys just didn’t show up. It got to the point where we wanted to win but we were exhausted. That was our fault and our loss.”
The Tigers traveled back to Savannah on March 22 to play against Beach.
“We went to Beach on Easter weekend and they didn’t have enough players show up so they forfeited,” Cooke said. “I never like that because if it comes down to goal differentials that hurts us. But that gave us all week off and we worked all week and got healthy again.”
When the Tiger squads took the field on Tuesday they were no longer playing for themselves. They were playing for a community in need of healing after Danielle’s untimely death. All the players wore pink wristbands or leg bands. The Lady Tigers had pink ribbons in their hair. Pink was Danielle’s favorite color.
Allyson stayed poised and focused and before the end of the game she made a goal in her sister’s memory.
“It was important for me to be out here today,” she said. “I wanted to score for her and I wanted to win for her. I’m trying to get through this, but there are no promises.
“It was either her or God,” who guided Allyson through the game.
“The girls game today was an amazing thing to watch,” Cooke said. “They came through and for Ally to come out and step on the field after everything she’s been through, and play the way she did, score the goal she scored, blows my mind. I’ve never seen anything like that in my career and it takes more heart than most grown men have for her to come out and do that. I’m so proud of her and the rest of the girls team for that.”
Daniel Jacobs scored the first goal in the girls’ 2-0 victory.
Cooke said the boys had the same fire. Marcel Barton, who scored two goals against Groves, was giving assisted kicks to Chris Schuster who knocked in 2 of the goals. Reggie Battle kicked in the third for their 3-0 victory.
Cooke said Wendy Bruce, Danielle and Allyson’s mother, is a big part of the Bradwell soccer family as they have supported the team the past two years.
“The boys played up to par tonight,” he said. “They came out here and knew this was their game. It was not just a senior night, it was more about that family and the rest of the season is about that family.
“Hopefully we can come out on top the next two games. It means a lot to us that the fans came out and supported us the way they did tonight. It means a lot that the community has supported that family and us. It means the world to me to see that kind of backing.”
He said the rest of the week will be tough. “The funeral is Thursday and so is the game,” the coach said. “We still have to play. We just have to drop the ball and play.”
Cooke said the game against Savannah Arts was a big one and a battle for second place. The Tigers were scheduled to play Savannah Arts Academy Thursday at home.
“Every player, coach, teacher and student wants to dedicate the rest of this season to her. And that is our fight now,” he said.
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