Sunday , July 27, 2014 - 12:00 AM
OGDEN – David Donlevy wasn’t about to lose to Manti.
Not after the way the previous two years ended, and not after the realization hit that this could be the end of his career at St. Joseph Catholic High School.
His Jayhawks were down 2-0 at halftime in the first round of the 2-A state playoffs, though, and Donlevy admitted Manti’s second goal was partially his fault.
The situation was dire.
Five minutes into the second half, everything changed.
“I got a great ball played through to me and just finished,” Donlevy said. “It was like, ‘Here we go. We’re coming back.’”
Later in the half, Donlevy once again got a great ball. Once again, he finished.
Donlevy’s pair of goals helped St. Joseph push the game into extra time and the Jayhawks eventually won 4-1 on penalty kicks. Donlevy was slated to take his team’s fifth penalty kick, but it never came to that.
“It was our determination thinking this could be our last high school game – this could be our last game together, and the thought that we had lost to them twice the previous years, we just didn’t want to go through it again,” Donlevy said of his ability to finish – twice – in such a big game.
Since day one at St. Joseph, Donlevy has established a reputation for finishing, and that finishing ability is just one of many reasons why he has been named the Standard-Examiner All-Area Boys Soccer Team’s Most Valuable Player.
Donlevy still remembers his first varsity game as a freshman.
“We were playing away at Wasatch Academy and there was a bouncing ball at the top of the 18,” Donlevy recalled. “I turned around, the goalie was partway out and I did a mini bike kind of thing and it went over his head. I was like, ‘That was really cool.’ I had never done something like that before, so that was pretty cool.”
As the year went on, Donlevy proved that was just the beginning.
Donlevy tallied double-digit goals each of his four years at St. Joseph. His junior year, he scored a career-best 23 goals. Overall, he recorded 68 goals in his four years.
“David’s a great player in all ways,” former St. Joseph coach Derek Tate said. “Tremendous on the ball. He’s scored a lot of goals every single year of high school, starting with his freshman year. He was already either our first or second-leading goal scorer as a freshman and one of the top scorers in the state every year. He maintained that same scoring prowess.
“He’s just a good clinical finisher. When he gets near the goal he has a knack for picking corners and beating goalies.”
Despite watching his team fall behind at Manti, which entered this year’s playoffs as the top seed from the 2-A central region, Tate knew the game could still be salvaged.
He knew that because he had Donlevy.
“We just talked (at halftime) about it’s happened before, this is actually a good spot to be in, the other team’s going to be relaxed, David’s going to jump on someone here quick,” Tate said. “Five minutes into the second half, we played a ball through. David was very courageous and challenged the keeper, and the keeper wasn’t able to hang onto it as David chested it past him and then was able to put it in.
“It was typical David hustle. Whatever it takes, give up his body to put the ball in the back of the net.”
Donlevy and the Jayhawks came up short of their ultimate goal of winning a state title, falling to Delta 3-2 in the state quarterfinals. Like the other playoff losses while Donlevy was at St. Joseph, the loss to Delta came in agonizing fashion as Delta overcame a 2-0 first-half deficit to win in extra time. But Tate knows how important Donlevy’s skill and leadership was in getting as far as they did.
“He’s a great leader,” Tate said. “He’s always positive to everyone. He obviously wants everyone to perform, but he’ll never get down on kids. He’s a great all-around person and you can see that when he’s on the field.
“We didn’t make it as far as we hoped to… but we had great chemistry and our senior leaders were amazing, Everyone was friends from the freshman to the seniors. Even though we had six kids starting that had never played soccer outside of high school, because of the great leadership of our seniors – trying to really bring along the young kids – we did awesome. David was a prime example of how to treat everyone right.”
Donlevy will now carry his hard work, determination and talents to the University of Utah.
Contact reporter Ryan Comer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @RyanComerSe and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RyanComerSe
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