The chilly January air welcomed Eagle fans as they flocked to Twin Oaks Park to support the Niceville boys soccer team as they went head-to-head with rival Fort Walton Beach High School for the second time this season.
The teams previously met on December 11th in a match at Fort Walton Beach High School, with Niceville pulling off a narrow 1-0 win.
The game got underway at 7 pm, and Niceville’s aggressive offense began building momentum on the attack almost immediately.
During the tenth minute of the game, the Eagle’s Grant Wheeler scored the first goal off of an assist by Jake Ticknor.
Just three minutes later, Ticknor scored a goal of his own, giving the Eagles their second point of the game.
Niceville’s strong and steady defense held down the backline, enabling the Eagles to maintain their 2-0 lead as the game neared half
The second half saw newfound drive and determination by Fort Walton’s offense.
The Vikings became increasingly aggressive on the attack, maintaining possession for a large portion of the 40-minute half, and built threatening plays on Niceville’s half of the field.
During the 64th minute, Fort Walton’s Landon Tryon took a powerful shot off a free kick, sending the ball directly into the left corner of the goal.
Trailing by merely one point, the Vikings took it upon themselves to tie up the game and avenge last month’s close loss.
With just 8 minutes left in the game, the Vikings found the back of the
net, closing their initial point deficit and tying the game.
The excitement was short-lived.
Niceville’s Jake Ticknor took a free kick a few yards outside of the 18-yard box, which defender Logan Marise finished off for the game-winning goal.
When asked about his expectations for the game, Niceville’s head coach, Wes Nelson, said he was prepared for the score to be similar to the last time the two teams met.
“They [Fort Walton Beach High School] are a really good team. These guys all play club together, so I knew it was going to be close,” Nelson said.
Many of the boys on both Niceville and Fort Walton play on the same team for Chivas FC in the off-season, making this game extra special.