TURNER — The players said it was the most fun game they’ve ever played in, and that was from the losing team.

Leavitt honored its 12 seniors before the Hornets’ first game of the season Saturday night at Libby Field, then had to face three-time defending Class A North champion Lewiston on senior night.

The Blue Devils pulled away for a 4-0 victory, but just getting to play a game was the best part for the Hornets.

“I think they were really excited,” Leavitt coach Zac Conlogue said. “We weren’t sure, obviously, with the (county) coding, if we were going to go to (a yellow designation) or whatnot. They were really excited (Friday) when we found out we got to play. They said that was the most fun game they’ve ever played, if that tells you kind of how much it meant to them. So it was nice for them to get a chance to at least get a game in.”

Lewiston Dan Gish noticed the Hornets’ excitement, and he said his players “had a blast” too, as well as gained some needed confidence. It was a better effort for the Blue Devils (2-0) than in their first game of the season, a narrow 1-0 victory over rival Edward Little.

It looked like Lewiston was going to take a similar 1-0 score into halftime Saturday night, with Ivan Domingues’ goal in the 30th minute all the Blue Devils could get by Leavitt senior goalie Blaine Clark and an organized Hornets defense. Then Khalid Hersi snuck a strike from the top of the box under Clark with 13.9 seconds left in the first half to double the Blue Devils’ lead.

“They were dropping a lot of defenders in the box, so a lot of our shots, probably about 12 of our shots, were coming from attacking mids and holding mids. So we were trying to exploit that to try and draw them out, and try and contest that,” Gish said. “When Khalid did that, that opened things up because then you have to respect a guy that can hit a ball from the outside.”

“I had just turned to the bench a few minutes before that and said ‘All right, if we get in (to halftime down) 1-0, we’re looking good,'” Conlogue said. “We never like giving up late goals, so obviously it’s a tough one. But they’re a good team, we had to keep playing for 40 minutes.”

Clark had stopped the first nine shots on goal he faced before Domingues broke through.

“I was really impressed with our organization back there because Lewiston obviously moves the ball really well,” Conlogue said. “And we stayed organized, we moved as a team, so I was really impressed. Ryan Thibault had a really nice game back there communicating with our team, as well as Blaine telling them when to shift and when to step. So I was really impressed with our defense today.”

Hersi and Domingues both scored again in the second half, with Hersi putting his second in 13:45 into the frame.

Leavitt had one of its best chances to score just before Domingues’ second tally, but Lewiston goalie Yaya Heri stopped a Cooper McGray corner kick to the near post, then the Blue Devils defense was able to clear the ball away on a second corner that went to the far post.

The Hornets also had a couple counter-attack chances in the first half, including Ethan Gates’ low shot on Heri midway through the period. Heri’s first of three saves in the game came on Thibault’s 40-yard free kick on target when the game was still scoreless.

Clark finished with 20 saves for the Hornets.

Hersi assisted on both of Domingues’ goals and Romano Bassa notched an assist on one of Hersi’s tallies.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.