DeKALB – In a span of 90 seconds, Josiah Antimo had a quick impact on the first El Classicorn.
The DeKalb striker scored in the fifth minute against Sycamore, then added a goal less than 90 seconds later as the Barbs won the match 3-1, securing the trophy sponsored by the DeKalb County United soccer club.
“After the second goal, when me and my teammates went to go celebrate, it felt amazing,” Antimo said. “They played amazing soccer, and we went and got it done.”
The first goal was a rebound off a corner kick. Sycamore (10-10-1) cleared, but Landon Weishaar played it back into the box for the Barbs (8-8-1), finding Antimo still in the box.
“All week, all season we’ve been working on getting numbers up front,” Antimo said. “We had that first play in, and with those numbers up we had another shot at the goal. We played it back in the middle, and I happened to be there, right place, right time. Great ball by Landon Wieshaar.”
In the sixth minute, Aaron Tierney fed the ball ahead to Antimo, who got it past Kevin Munoz for a goal and a 2-0 lead.
“We didn’t start off very well. You can’t spot a team like DeKalb a couple goals early on and dig ourselves a big hole in a match like this,” Sycamore coach Kevin Bickley said. “It just seems like we weren’t ready right from the very beginning.”
Weishaar added to the score in the 32nd minute, right to left, past Munoz, for a 3-0 lead the Barbs carried into the break.
“Sycamore is always circled on our schedule,” Antimo said. “It was amazing, put everybody in the right mindset at half. Everyone was in a great place. We went and played some great soccer in the second half as well.”
After not being able to get much going on offense in the first half, Will Donahoe, who has scored most of the Spartans’ goals this year, got a hold of the ball from a DeKalb defender and punched it past Seth Hess to cut the DeKalb lead to 3-1.
It was the 25th goal of the year for Donahoe and the only offense the Spartans managed as DeKalb controlled the ball the rest of the way with Munoz making flashy save after flashy save to deny the Barbs in the second half.
Munoz finished the game with seven saves.
“We definitely needed him back there,” Bickley said. “He probably made four or five saves that should have been sure goals. The score could have been a lot worse than it was.”
DeKalb coach PJ Hamilton, who also works with the DKCU developmental program, said he thinks the new El Classicorn will help grow the sport locally.
He also said he was glad to see the DeKalb offense take a step forward.
“We went through stretches where we’ve struggled to find the back of the net throughout the year,” Hamilton said. “I think it shows what the young man is truly capable of. We’re in the process of getting him 100%.”
DeKalb heads to Harlem on Thursday before home games against Neuqua Valley and Dixon to close the regular season.
Sycamore, off a loss Saturday to Kaneland in the Interstate 8 tournament championship game, faces Wheaton Warrenville South on Thursday before Woodstock North and Sterling next week – all road games.
“We’ve been asking these guys to play a lot of minutes, and it’s kind of started to show the last few games,” Bickley said. “We just don’t have the legs. We only have two games this week and a couple next week, so hopefully we’ll be healthy for the regionals.”