Tim Grosel kept his cool.
The Marietta High senior boys' soccer co-captain was literally thrown to the ground by Coshocton High's Lucas Dunlap at the conclusion of the Tigers' 3-0 triumph over the Redskins at the Devola Soccer Complex on Tuesday night.
If a referee had seen the incident, he (or she) might have red carded Dunlap for the "football-like tackle," which it basically was. Frankly, there's no place for unsportsmanship behavior like this on the soccer pitch.
Not surprisingly, Grosel, a three-sports letterwinner at MHS in baseball, basketball and soccer, did not take the assault lying down. Getting immediately up, he got right in the face of the taller Dunlap.
For a moment there, it looked like it might result in fisticuffs between Grosel and Dunlap. Players on both sides slowly moved in to separate the twosome.
Fortunately, the match was over, and Grosel walked away with his arms above his head, clapping his hands - in victory.
"You know, it's 80 minutes of a tough battle," Grosel said. "Tempers flare a little bit. The game was over by then, too. You've got to know when to keep your cool and know when to try to defend yourself."
During second-half action, Dunlap was actually yellow carded by an official for rough play on another Tiger player, and sent off the pitch for a brief time. After getting a drink, he returned to the play.
"He's a real good player," said Grosel of Dunlap. "I don't think I've played against him before, but he's a very nice player."
No question about that.
Dunlap was like a field general or quarterback, setting up his Redskin teammates with beautiful passes all night long. He also had excellent footwork.
Dunlap needs to curb his anger, though - or he will be flirting with ejection.
"It was a very physical game," Grosel said, "and I give all the credit in the world to them (Coshocton). They gave us a good battle. It was fun. It was a lot of fun."
Marietta and Coshocton actually almost played each other on the pitch during the postseason last fall. Now of course, the two schools are members of the East Central Ohio League (ECOL), and will be meeting on an annual basis.
Before Tuesday night, the Tigers and Redskins hadn't hooked up on the pitch since October of 1987. MHS now leads the all-time series, 3-0.
"They (Coshocton) were in the Elite 8 last year," Grosel said. "They got one step further than we did. If we'd beaten (Bishop) Watterson (in the regional semifinal), we would've played them in the next game last year.
"That was a real good team we just beat, and we scrapped it out there in the end."
Late in the match, the Tigers trailed 2-1, but coming to the rescue was Grosel, who headed home the equalizer.
You definitely want Grosel on your side - no matter what the sport is.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org