GULFPORT -- More than a month before Bayshore traveled across the Skyway Bridge to Gulfport for Tuesday's Class 3A-District 10 quarterfinal at Dan Wickline Field at Charles Beauchamp Stadium, the Bruins were the hosts for a regular-season meeting with Gulfport Boca Ciega.
It was Dec. 9 and BHS was hovering around .500 with a chance for a 3-1 start to district play when Boca Ciega came to Balvanz Stadium. At halftime, Bayshore even led before a familiar script played out over the final 40 minutes. The Bruins' one-goal lead vanished when the Pirates finished the game with two unanswered scores during the second half.
Forty-one days later, BCHS picked up where it left off in Bradenton. Boca Ciega scored the first six goals of the quarterfinal to end BHS' season with a 6-1 win at Dan Wickline Field at Charles Beauchamp Stadium.
"We're a very young team and it showed at times, and tonight it showed again," head coach Daniel Green said. "We've been battling that youth all season long."
Never miss a local story.
No. 6-seed Bayshore's season ended with seven underclassmen - four freshman and three sophomores - in the starting lineup and a pair of early lapses defensively made it tough for the Bruins (8-11-1, 3-6) to recover.
The Pirates (9-5, 7-2) built a lead quickly on the foot of Keshawn Wiggan, who put a pair of goals in the back of the net before BHS managed to even get its first shot
on goal. The first came as the result of a corner kick in the sixth minute, but not off a header or volley. Instead, Bayshore's clear was lazy and Wiggan wound up with the ball settled at his feet in the box for an easy strike. Seven minutes later, the junior got behind the Bruin defense and finished a through ball.
In less than 14 minutes Tuesday, No. 3-seed BCHS scored as many goals as it did in 80 minutes against BHS during the regular season.
"We're just hitting our stride," Boca Ciega head coach Colby Bidwell said. "I mean 2-1 to now 6-1 is a dramatic change, so that's what we do. We just build and build."
Wiggan finished a hat trick in the 45th minute, putting the Pirates ahead 4-0 and effectively pushing Bayshore out of reach. The Bruins, who put four shots on goal during the first half despite struggling to maintain extended possessions, scored their only goal in the 73rd minute.
The goal-scorer was Caleb Freeman, a defensive midfielder and a junior who will be back at BHS next season when BHS is ready to stop squandering halftime leads and getting blown out.
"Hopefully they'll learn from it," Green said. "Next year we can come out and get some payback on some of these teams."