MILTON, Ga. — Cambridge assistant coach Josh McGlamery typically spends the halftime of each game with magnets and a board outlining the strategy for the Bears in the second half. In Friday night’s contest against Milton, his board and magnets did not make an appearance during the break.
“We didn’t need that tonight,” McGlamery said. “We needed desire and intensity.”
McGlamery and Bears’ head coach Bryan Wallace emphasized the need for their squad to rise to its challenges, show their passion and play with a ferocity they did not have in the first half.
That halftime refocus paid off with the Bears using a notable second half performance to erase Milton’s lead and earn a 2-1 victory.
“Given the emotions of the game with a crosstown rival, given the intensity Milton brought in the first half, combined with the field conditions, it made for a sloppy game at times, but it really came down to a matter of desire,” McGlamery said.
Milton and Cambridge split possession time in the first half, but the Eagles took advantage of a quick transition to take a 1-0 lead midway through the frame. Milton promptly moved the ball from midfield to its attacking third and scored with a well-placed cross from Hunter Dinnall to Dylan Thelin who buried a hard shot of his right foot.
With their newfound vigor entering the second half, Cambridge began to control possession and put together quality scoring chances.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, the Bears found the scoreboard when a 30-yard free kick taken by Ben Barfield found senior Jack Tindle who headed the ball in for a goal.
Continuing the momentum swing, Cambridge took the lead six minutes later from another set piece. Treyson Reilly headed a Cambridge corner in from close distance, slicing the ball across the goalmouth to give the Bears a 2-1 advantage.
Though the Bears’ strong-suit is not usually set pieces, Wallace said the team focused on them earlier in the week, and it paid off Friday night.
“Our strength is possession and creativity, but we can figure some things out with the athletes we have,” Wallace said. “I think they did a good job of translating what we worked on into some goals.”
The Bears continued to mount its offensive pressure for the remainder of the half, and though they did not add another goal, possession-oriented play, along with some late Milton turnovers, allowed Cambridge to secure the comeback win.
“We have confidence in our ability to play, I think tonight brings further confidence in our ability to gut it out sometimes,” McGlamery said.
With a win over their crosstown rivals under their belt, the Bears will now focus on their region rivals, Chattahoochee. The two teams meet next Tuesday in a rematch of last year’s de-facto 7-AAAAAA championship game and Class 6A state championship contest. The Bears downed Hooch to win the region title, but the Cougars won an overtime thriller to claim their second straight 6A championship.
Milton (4-2, 2-1) will take on Lambert and North Forsyth next week to continue its Region 5-AAAAAAA slate.