If Cleveland coach John Brose has any gray hairs popping up, a sluggish first half by the Raiders could rightfully take the credit.
A talented Lenoir City team journeyed south and gave Cleveland (8-3-3, 3-1) all it could handle and almost more by the end of Wednesday night’s 4-4 finish.
Within the first 30 minutes of play, the Panthers (6-5-1) were able to take a 3-0 lead over the Raiders.
“I’ve got nothing positive to say about the first half,” Brose stated. “This game was literally a game of two halves. We came out really flat and Lenoir City is very good.”
At the half, a usually calm Coach Brose had no choice but to lay into his team.
“I don’t like to get on to them that much, and typically I’m a pretty laid-back guy, but at halftime I got on to them and said that we can’t keep doing this to ourselves. We have to come out and want it more than the other team,” Brose explained.
In the 46th minute Lenoir City was able to get a fourth goal, which proved motivation enough for the Raiders to get into the game.
Catching the Panthers’ keeper far out of his zone, Anfernee Avila, with an assist by Chris Pistrang, was able to knock in the first goal for Cleveland in the 52nd minute.
Fourteen minutes later, Jonathan Collins, with the assist from Avila, cut the Raiders’ deficit to just two goals.
With only six minutes remaining in the game, Avila got the ball to Brandon Romero, who capitalized on the situation and got a third goal past the Lenoir City keeper.
Only a handful of minutes later, Avila racked up another assist, as he found Marvin Ruiz, who in turn got another goal past the Panthers’ keeper for the game-tying goal, final goal.
“We battled back through some adversity and put some pressure on them, and then were able to get four goals to tie up the game,” Brose commented. “I wish we would put the same effort that it takes for a comeback into a full 80 minutes of play. If we can do that then we would be a hard team to beat.”
Cleveland registered 13 shots on goal Wednesday, with Lenoir City tallying up seven shots on goal.
The Raiders will travel to East Ridge tonight for a 7 p.m. game against the Pioneers (8-3).
PANTHERS 4, BLUE RAIDERS 4
Halftime score: 3-0 LC. Goals: Anfernee Avila, Jonathan Collins, Brandon Romero, Marvin Ruiz (C). Assists: Chris Pistrang, Avila 3(C). Record: Cleveland 8-3-3; Lenoir City 6-5-1.