Rock Bridge remained undefeated Monday at Cosmopolitan Park in a game that featured a little bit of everything.
In the Bruins’ 4-2 win, referees yelled at players and coaches, players and coaches yelled back, and coaches yelled at each other. Officials called 14 fouls and handed out three yellow cards. And that was just against the Bruins.
O’Hara doubled the season goal total against Rock Bridge (6-0-1), but went back to Kansas City with a loss.
They also left with a few bruises and questions about the officiating.
“I don’t mind losing a game, but when it’s officiated poorly, it’s tough,” Celtics coach John Duker said. “I don’t think we’ll be back (to Columbia).”
Three players were forced to leave the game with injuries, including O’Hara’s Bryan Tunison, who did not return after suffering a bloody nose late in the second half.
At one point, officials stopped play to remind both teams that “this isn’t football.”
The physicality of the game came to an apex during the 55th minute. Rock Bridge was whistled for dangerous play near its goal, but two referees made different calls about which team would make the free kick.
As the Bruins, including goalkeeper Tanner Mills, rushed out to go on the offensive, O’Hara’s Alex Johnson hit the ball into the empty Bruin net. As the Celtics celebrated, officials determined that the play should have been an indirect free kick and therefore the ball needed to be touched by more than one player before a goal could be scored.
Since that didn’t happen, Rock Bridge was awarded a goal kick. That kick was taken by backup goalkeeper Adam Andrews because Mills had been given a yellow card for arguing during the confusion and had to leave the game.
Overshadowed amid the turmoil, was Michael Ferguson, who recorded a hat trick for Rock Bridge to increase his season total to 11 goals. Ferguson appeared to have another goal in the 17th minute. His shot off the crossbar appeared to cross the goal line, but the referees kept play going.
“That’s all well and good,” coach David Graham said. “But it will be a short stay in districts for us if somebody else doesn’t step up and start scoring.”
Hickman shut out Rock Bridge last year in district play when the Kewpies keyed on Ferguson, who had scored 28 goals going into that game.
At the outset Monday, it seemed like the Bruins would turn the game into another lopsided victory. In six games, they had outscored opponents 26-1. Ferguson and David Hilderbrand each scored within the first eight minutes, but Rock Bridge let O’Hara back in the game.
Brent Morrison took advantage of a Bruin defensive lapse in the 14th minute to halve the lead. Jason Jacob added a goal in the 63rd minute.
“We didn’t come to play. Once we went up 2-0, we just kind of lost the intensity,” Ferguson said.
“That was the worst game of the season, I think all the guys would agree with that,” Graham said. “We lost a lot of focus there. We acted like it was something that was owed us rather than something we had to earn.”