Forgive Jason Renick if his stomach gets queasy and his head hurts at the mere sight of the Beacon boys soccer team.
For, the last three years, the Columbus coach has watched his season end against the Blue Demons.
Two years ago, it was in the second round. Last year, it was the semifinals. And Tuesday, the third-seeded Explorers were walloped by No. 6 Beacon, 4-0, in the PSAL Class A quarterfinals at Canarsie HS in Brooklyn.
“I would’ve liked to see them in the semifinals or finals,” Renick said. “It’s a tough draw, a tough bracket, facing them this early.”
Senior sweeper Lamin Janneh summed it up perfectly: “We’re tired of seeing them, we just can’t get over the hump.”
Whenever the two sides met, Columbus (12-2-1) had to play far better. The Explorers managed just two shots on goal, both in the first half, were outplayed at midfield, their bread and butter, and could do little to stop Beacon’s relentless attack.
They struggled to put passes together and the Blue Demons (11-4-0) lived in the two-time Bronx A champion’s third, peppering senior keeper Besim Berisha from start to finish.
“The better team won today,” Janneh said. “They controlled the tempo of the game, they did all the little things.”
Renick was confident entering the meeting. Last year, Columbus arguably outplayed Beacon, before falling in penalty kicks in the semifinals. The rematch hardly resembled the previous meeting, aside from the time of the year and similar jersey colors.
Leading scorer Alhoussain Bah, a talented junior, was quiet, as was freshman midfielder Endri Berisha. Beacon played keep away once it had the early lead, and then responded with counterattacks to put the game away.
Renick said the losses to Beacon don’t take away from the positive strides the program has taken the last few years. Columbus has won consecutive Bronx A crowns, working its way past an early-season loss to Lehman to leapfrog the Lions late in the year.