Renner and his “state mustache” helped the Irish win their second consecutive Class 1 title on Saturday, holding off a formidable challenge from Southern Boone County to win 1-0.
“I would say the state ‘stache definitely played a role in today’s game,” Renner said. “It definitely gave me some confidence, made me look pretty tough as well. My parents didn’t like it, but it had to stay.”
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Midway through the second half, Renner, a co-captain and senior defender who had scored three goals entering the game, headed in Reilly Harbach’s corner kick. Renner isn’t always in such a fortunate position.
“(Defender) Nick Wiegers and I usually argue over who gets to go up on the corners,” Renner said. “It was my turn to go up and as soon as Reilly kicked it, I knew it was my ball.”
In a game that had goals from each team wiped out, Renner’s score stood and the Irish went on to beat the Eagles for the second straight year in the postseason. Catholic topped Southern Boone 3-0 in a closer-than-it-looks game in the 2011 quarterfinals.
“I’m just so proud of the way our kids played… I’m proud of the way both sides played really,” said Catholic coach Tom Guinn. “That’s two years in a row that we’ve had tremendous battles against Southern Boone.”
Catholic looked to have knocked in a goal on a corner kick with nine minutes to go in the first half, but the score was taken away after the Irish were called for pushing Eagles goalkeeper Isaac Wren.
Although Catholic had a 17-3 edge in total shots, including 15-1 in the second half, Southern Boone also had scoring chances of its own.
Jacob Moore’s header goal with a minute remaining in the first half was erased when the Eagles were called for offsides. Catholic dodged a big bullet 15 minutes into the game when Southern Boone’s Landon Bartel got free on a breakaway but had his shot go just wide left of the Catholic net.
The Eagles slowed Catholic’s offense in the first half by playing all but a lone forward behind the midfield line. They also assigned plenty of attention to Irish leading scorers Evan Craig and Mitchell Moncada.
“We knew they’d key on Mitch and Evan, so at halftime I said, ‘Hey, they’re keying on our guys, it’s going to take somebody else doing something special and coming through for us,’” Guinn said. “Sure enough, here comes Danny with the big header to get us the win.”
Renner’s teammates became believers in the power of the mustache.