It was a clash of styles at Bulldog Field Thursday between the Effingham offense and the St. Anthony defense.
St. Anthony had recorded four shutouts in six games coming in to Thursday, while Effingham's offense scored six times on Vandalia and eight times against Pana.
But in the end, it was both defenses that shined, as the game ended in a scoreless 0-0 tie after 80 minutes.
"Today, by far, the best defensive game of the year (for us)," said Effingham coach Aaron Witges. "It was tough, both teams played their hearts out. I don't think it was probably their best game execution-wise, and it wasn't our best game execution-wise offensively."
St. Anthony coach Scott Demers agreed with his counterpart's assessment of the Flaming Heart defense.
"Their coach and I, we know how we do things," Demers said. "When I go to a formation, he knows how to adjust to it. His team did a lot to keep us from getting open looks. Everything was contested."
Effingham had the two best chances of the day, coming nearly 75 minutes apart. Just 37 seconds in to the game, Effingham's Tyler Katz let a rocket go at the top left corner of the net, only to be saved on a jumping effort from St. Anthony's Zach Tegeler.
Their other great chance came with 5:28 remaining. Andrew Knight brought the ball down the left side and hit a nice cross to the right at the feet of Austin Wenthe. Wenthe whiffed, but the ball kept going right to Jason Pike. He ripped a line drive at the net, but Tegeler came up big with a save and punched the rebound back over the net.
Each team had a few other opportunities from there, but neither would be able to put the ball in the back of the net.