South Dade, which finished as the No. 4 seed in its own district and was competing in the regional playoffs for the first time since 1999, finished 9-8-2.
“I guess that’s the end of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” said South Dade coach Ed Callahan, talking like a coach who was hardly upset and knew midnight might come at some point.
“We ran into an absolute buzz saw out there tonight in Cypress Bay. They popped that quick goal on us in the first minute, and we just were never a factor after that. What an unbelievable run by our program, and I can’t be more proud of those kids getting on that bus over there. They put South Dade soccer on the map and nobody will look at us anymore thinking they’ve got an automatic win.”
The Lightning wasted absolutely no time establishing its dominance when it scored less than a minute into the game when Miguel Perez and Daniel Reese combined on a perfect corner kick/header combination to go up 1-0.
Things would get a lot worse very quickly for South Dade keeper Carlos Villegas as the Lightning would pepper him the entire first half with numerous shots.
Reese nailed down his second goal when he took an assist from Jake Fuhrman in the 16th minute and knocked it home to make it 2-0.
Just four minutes before halftime Daniel Gutierrez split the South Dade defense perfectly down the middle and beat Villegas one-on-one to make it 3-0 before Nicolas Guevara bicycle kicked one in 30 seconds before the half, making it 4-0 and allowing Cypress Bay coaches to freely substitute in the second half.
“That first goal really hurt us and really kind of took us out of our game,” said South Dade senior captain Humberto Blanco. “But that’s OK. I’m proud of my teammates as we made history this year. I’m really proud and honored to have been a part of this great run and hopefully people will take South Dade soccer more seriously from now on.”
Cypress Bay (14-2-4) suffered major losses from last year’s national championship team when a rules change forced top players to choose between high school and year-round club ball