by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Barberton -- For just the third time this season, the Tallmadge boys soccer team faced a second-half deficit.
Thankfully, the Blue Devils avoided losses in two of those games.
The Tallmadge boys soccer team earned a 1-1 draw against Suburban League American Conference rival Barberton Sept. 20 at Barberton High School's Glenn "Jeep" Davis Track.
The Blue Devils got the tying goal from sophomore midfielder Jason Betts with less than six minutes left to salvage the tie.
"I was really proud to see my team fight hard," said Tallmadge senior center back Jadon Wolf, a team captain. "We had a rough game against Copley [a 6-0 loss Sept. 13 at Thomas Rossiaky Stadium]. Some teams fall apart in situations like this, but we came back."
Blue Devils head coach Mina Shahata declined to comment after the game.
Prior to Betts' goal, things looked bleak for Tallmadge. (6-1-2, 1-1-1)
The Magics used a lot of long through balls to utilize their speed and they had an 8-4 advantage in shots on goal.
Barberton had more chances inside the Blue Devils' penalty box.
Tallmadge, on the other hand, used more of a short-passing strategy that led to shots outside of the Magics' penalty box.
Barberton finally got on the scoreboard with 11 minutes, 2 seconds left in the game.
The Blue Devils were called for a trip on a breakaway in the Magics' penalty box.
As a result, Barberton (2-5-1, 0-2-1) was awarded a penalty kick and sophomore Stefan Dragic delivered with a low line drive into the right corner of the net.
But Tallmadge tied the game a little more than five minutes later.
The Magics were called for obstruction in the Blue Devils' penalty box, which gave Tallmadge an indirect kick.
Sophomore midfielder Justin Betts stepped over the ball. Sophomore attacker Nick Hussing followed and blasted a left-footed shot to the far post that was headed in by Jason Betts with 5:53 to go.
"Our main issue in the Copley game was keeping our composure," Wolf said. "We were much better [Sept. 20]."
Wolf believes the team's chemistry has been vital to the Blue Devils' success thus far.
"You really see us bond together," he said. "We're best friends. We hang out together at school and outside of school."
Both teams had four corner kicks. Tallmadge senior goalkeeper Tommy Kilway made eight saves. Barberton senior keeper Trevor Hart made three saves.
The Blue Devils' junior varsity team earned a 2-2 draw with Barberton.
Tallmadge posted a convincing 4-0 victory over Ellet in Akron.
Senior midfielder Mitch Makuch scored twice and had an assist and Hussing finished with two goals. Makuch scored his second goal on a penalty kick.
Justin Betts added an assist for the Blue Devils, who had a 4-3 edge in corner kicks.
The Orangemen had a 7-5 advantage in shots on goal.
Kilway had six saves. Backup keeper Sam Weyandt, a sophomore, added one save for Tallmadge.
The Blue Devils were scheduled to visit Firestone Sept. 24 in Akron. Results were not available at press time.
Tallmadge is set to host American Conference foe Highland Sept. 27 and Suburban League crossover rival Cuyahoga Falls Oct. 1. Both contests are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Thomas Rossiaky Stadium.