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Patriots rally past Titans, 5-4

Published January 17, 2004

TAMPA - In one of the season's wildest games, Freedom came back from a 3-1 halftime deficit Friday to top Tampa Bay Tech 5-4 and remain unbeaten.

The Patriots (7-0-2) took the lead in the third minute as Jordan Schellhase knocked one in just under the crossbar from the top of the box. The visiting Titans (4-3-3) countered three minutes later on a similar shot by Ilia Petrov.

Tech's leading scorer, freshman midfielder Tony Forde (nine goals) had two before halftime, following a two-goal performance in a 4-2 loss to Jefferson on Thursday.

In the 60th minute Freedom freshman Brian Watson pulled the Pats within 3-2, collecting a ball the Titans failed to clear and putting it in the left corner.

Freedom's tying third goal angered the Titans. It appeared Tech defender Scott Hines cleared Hector Castillo's header off the goal line, but the referee ruled it a goal.

Castillo and Watson scored again within a minute of each other on long throw-ins from Derek Dyer to put Freedom up 5-3 before Tech's Kevin Mendoza found the back of the net as time expired.

With a number of games on Thursday and a shortage of officials, there were only two referees and no linesmen for the match.

"Having two refs is ridiculous," Tech coach Roger Ramsay said. "The officiating was terrible, and I'll go on record with that."

Freedom coach Dennis Derflinger said he thought his team would probably have scored again anyway.

"We had a lot of momentum in the second half," he said. "That's the way we should be playing all the time. It showed what we are capable of doing."

In the girls game, Freedom rolled 8-0 to finish undefeated in district play at 9-0-2. Tech (5-6) had never lost by the mercy rule during coach Chris Charles' four-year tenure, but led by a hat trick Vanessa Rangel, the Patriots (10-2-1) were never challenged.

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