MARQUETTE - In the 1950s, there was a TV series that stated, "Father Knows Best."
In Marquette on Tuesday evening, it was "Coach Knows Best."
As in Marquette Senior High School head soccer coach Matt Tebo, who worried that his team wouldn't take Kingsford seriously after a 7-1 blowout victory earlier in the season.
Marquette’s Cole Rieboldt (11) heads the ball to a fellow player as Kingsford’s Austin Crosson watches on during the first half on Tuesday in?Marquette. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
Marquette’s Esten Potvin (18) battles for possession against Kingsford’s Brett Milinski during the first half at Marquette on Tuesday. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
And he was right, as the Redmen had to eke out the game's only goal in the middle of the second half for a 1-0 win at the Kaufman Sports Complex.
"I could see in the warm-ups that we were a little flat. The guys seemed to be having more fun that getting serious about a game," Tebo said. "And we came out that way.
"I think they were expecting a simple game.
"I told them and told them, this isn't the same Kingsford team we played before."
He explained that the Flivvers under the direction of first-year coach Alex Milinski were just getting their feet under them and trying to nail down the basics when the teams first met on Sept. 11.
"Kingsford has worked hard since then to get better," Tebo said.
But MSHS (11-4-3) pulled out the victory in its final regular-season game with 21:32 left to play. Sophomore striker Max Bednarek took a pass from junior outside midfielder Cole Rieboldt, lost the ball to a Kingsford defender and took it right back before firing off a shot from the right side past Kingsford senior goaltender Tyler Schaut.
"That was a great play," Tebo said. "Max was calm and collected and smart about it."
While the Flivvers only had a few decent scoring opportunities before that, they had several of their best chances when forced to go for the tie.
About 7 minutes after Bednarek's goal, Kingsford sent a corner kick to sophomore Brett Milinski, whose header went barely right of the goal.
Then not even two minutes later, the Flivvers slipped the ball past Marquette's last line of defense and to Milinski, who rushed Redmen junior goalie Tony Lackey at full speed only to chunk the shot wide.
"We're playing drastically better than we were early in the season," KHS coach Alex Milinski said. "We're such a young team, but it's frustrating to lose a game like this.
"Not that Marquette doesn't deserve to win, but to get this close and not do it is tough.
"Marquette is a good test for us, however. Their philosophy is similar to ours. I thought their play in the midfield was what made the difference in this game."
Both coaches say they like to stress ball possession and working for quality scoring chances.
Marquette finished with 18 total shots, nine in each half, with five shots on goal in the first half and three in the second half as Schaut made eight saves.
Kingsford has just six total shots, four in the first half, and put three shots on Lackey, two in the opening 40 minutes.
The game may prove to be an important wake-up call for the Redmen, who open the annual Upper Peninsula Finals tournament against Kingsford on Saturday, Oct. 13, back at Kaufman.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.