Rare victory over Falcons unexpected & so sweet

In September of 1995, I had just turned 1 year old. My brother  Miles Bennett-Smith, currently a senior at Stanford, was 4.

That September, 14 years before I began high school, the boys’ varsity soccer team beat Forest Lake Christian on their home field in Auburn, 1-0.

It would take 17 years to do it again.

On Sept. 13—almost two decades after a goal by Matt Post, `95, led Country Day to its first-ever away win against Forest Lake—the boys did it again.

Unable to keep a 1-0 lead at halftime last year, this year the team held on for a 2-0 result.

As the final whistle blew, red-clad players streamed off the field, arms held high, celebrating only the second win at Auburn in school history.

Over the years, no rivalry in Country Day sports has equaled the rivalry with Forest Lake.

It started with a loss in 1981, the first year that the teams faced each other.

For the next 31 years, Country Day would be beaten, frustrated and humiliated by their out-of-town rivals, an unpleasant tradition that made the few triumphs all the more sweet.

Head coach Matt Vargo recalled his first time coaching against Forest Lake, at their Homecoming in front of 1000 fans at Bear River College.

“We tied 1-1, and me and Jason (Allen) were jumping up and down high fiving each other. It was amazing.”

Successes, however, have been few and far between.

In 58 games, the Cavaliers are 5-44-9 against the Falcons. In those 58 games, the Falcons have outscored the Cavs 171-41.

In 1988, Country Day suffered an embarrassing 17-0 loss, the biggest in school history.

The bitter feelings between the schools don’t stem from lopsided play alone, however.

In 1992, during what would be the first SCDS win, Allen was knocked unconscious at the start of the second half.

He was carried off the field accompanied by chants of “We got their MVP! We got their MVP!” led by Forest Lake’s head coach, Thad Kopec, who retired last year.

“(Kopec) was argumentative, unfriendly and unwelcoming,” Daniel Neukom, former boys’ coach, said.“You’d think he was playing the seventh game of the World Series or the World Cup final, not a high-school game.”

For Cavs players, the Forest Lake game always held extra significance.
“Winning the section title, winning the league championship, beating Forest Lake. Those were our goals,” Bennett-Smith, `09, said.

In 2005, Country Day left the Central Valley Christian League (CVCL) in favor of the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League (SMAL).

No longer in Forest Lake’s league, the Cavs now play their foes just once a year. In the past, the games have alternated home and away.

This year, however, marked the second straight time that the game took place in Auburn.

In the last four years, Country Day has gone 2-1-1, a record that belies the disappointment that has been a cornerstone of the rivalry.

“A lot of people don’t realize that Forest Lake used to own us,” Bennett-Smith said.

“We hated them. Seeing them lose years later is still an incredible sight,” he said.

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