COLUMBIA — Wednesday night, 13.8 seconds was a lot of time for the Hickman and Rock Bridge boys soccer teams.
At the end of their game, that's what the scoreboard at Rock Bridge showed. Because of a time discrepancy between what the scoreboard showed and the referee's official time, the final minute-plus of the game was played with the scoreboard showing :13.8.
The dispute with the clock contributed to the frantic conclusion of the Bruins' 1-0 victory over the Kewpies.
With six minutes left and the game scoreless the crowd's anticipation was palpable. People in the nearly full stands had been letting out tiny gasps following near-misses throughout the game. Finally, with about five minutes left, the gasps turned to cheers.
A 45-yard free-kick off the foot of Rock Bridge's Kory McDonald skimmed off the head of a Hickman defender and found the head of Tyler Griggs. The Bruins senior, who was streaking unmarked to the back-post, blasted a header past lunging Kewpies' goalkeeper Spencer Mills to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
Despite falling behind, the Kewpies (4-8) didn't give up and responded with increased pressure on the offensive end.
"I was proud of the way we responded after the goal," Hickman coach Adam Taylor said. "We could have hung our heads and said we were out of that thing cause there were only six minutes left, but we didn't do that by any means."
However, this increased pressure also left the Hickman defense exposed, and Rock Bridge (10-3) had three quality chances to double its lead. Mills thwarted the first two efforts, then Ryan Stanowski's break-away shot went wide in an agonizing play for the home crowd.
"Great individual move. Great shot," Rock Bridge coach Kyle Austin said. "You know that's something. I think he (Stanowski) finishes eight out of ten times."
That set the stage for the broken clock. As Hickman continued to pressure the Rock Bridge goal, an increasing number of Bruins fans began screaming about the clock.
Only a leaping save from Bruins goalkeeper Andrew Bare could keep out a shot that was otherwise destined for the upper-right corner.
"I think we got a little frustrated," said Austin about the timekeeping. "I think we lost a little bit of focus for a second when all that happened."
The Kewpies still had a chance to equalize, but their last-second corner kick went out of bounds.
"When it says 13, but he's got it on the field, you don't know what to think," said Taylor about the game clock. "I think that played to our advantage, and we got an opportunity."