CENTENARY, Ohio — They didn’t score first, they didn’t score last, but they did punch their ticket to the district final.
The third-seeded Gallia Academy boys soccer team claimed a 3-2 victory over sixth-seeded guest Greenfield McClain in the Division II district semifinal on Wednesday at Lester Field, with the Blue Devils’ earning their first-ever win at the district level.
The Tigers went up 1-0 early in the match, but GAHS (15-1-2) tied it at one with 51 seconds left in the half, with Colton Roe scoring on an assist from Brody Wilt.
The Blue and White took the lead at 2-1 19:23 into the second half, with Wilt weaving through McClain defenders and finding the back right side of the net from the front left.
Gallia Academy gained a little cushion with 12:38 remaining, as Roe scored on another assist from Wilt.
McClain pulled back to within a goal, scoring with 4:51 to go, but ultimately fell 3-2.
Following the the district semifinal win, fourth-year GAHS head coach Cory Camden noted the key goal before half, as well as his team’s desire to complete an unbeaten home slate.
“That goal right before half, there in the last minute, was big for our psyche,” Camden said. “No senior wanted to lose on this field tonight, and they were leaving it all out there. The whole Blue team that stepped on the field left it all out there, it was exciting, and a fun win to be a part of.”
Coach Camden also acknowledged the Blue Devils’ ability to advance to the district championship game without a pair of key sophomores on the field.
“We lost Keagen Daniels midway through the season and that was difficult on us,” Coach Camden said. “We had young men work hard in practice, step right into the role and run with it, even if it was on a night-to-night basis. It may be one this night, and another one the next, we had Zak Flinner, Trevin Allen, Evan Stapleton and Carson Wamsley all step up to start locking down our midfield.
“The good thing is, going into the district championship, we do get Maddux Camden back. He’s a big ball-winner in the middle of our field, and kind of a field general to get the ball linked up to the top of the field. To get by and get to the district championship without those two guys shows our depth and how hard we’ve worked in the offseason.”
The Blue and White will look for their 10th win in a row when they meet second-seeded Unioto in the district final at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Zane Trace.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.