CENTENARY, Ohio — Disappointment. The word was defined in the Gallia Academy soccer dictionary Monday night as the ability to execute a game plan to near-perfection, yet not get the result you desire.
The eighth-seeded Blue Devils spent roughly two-thirds of the match in the attack zone and outshot visiting Northwest by a sizable 30-9 overall margin, but the ninth-seeded Mohawks made the most of a few big opportuinities en route to a 3-1 victory during a Division II sectional quarterfinal in Gallia County.
Besides the extra 21 shots, the host Blue Devils (5-12-0) also posted considerable advantages in both shots on goal (16-7) and in corner kicks (10-2). Yet, for all the statistical domination, GAHS never led in the entire contest.
The Mohawks (8-7-2) opened the scoring in the 17th minute after Dylan Amburgey netted a pass from Stefan Lantzke, giving the guests a 1-0 lead with 23:24 remaining. It would also prove to be the only goal for either squad in the opening 40 minutes of play.
NWHS extended its lead out to 2-0 after Austin Adkins netted a point-blank shot on goal in the 42nd minute, but Gallia Academy countered with its only goal in the 53rd minute after Sammy Hemphill sent a ball through a group that ricocheted off players and into the net — cutting the deficit down to 2-1.
The score remained that way until the 71st minute, when Gabe Howard landed an unassited goal that allowed the Mohawks to secure a 3-1 edge with less than 10 minutes left in regulation.
Most of the NWHS goals came on fast breaks with favorable bounces along the way, which was more than the hosts seemed to have happen throughout the night.
Afterwards, GAHS coach Josh Simmons was pleased with the overall effort of his troops — but he was also truly heart-broken by the final result.
“I though we definitely outplayed them, but it just seemed that luck was not in our favor. Our aggressiveness and determination were there, but nothing really seemed to come together for us,” Simmons said. “They made the most of three really big opportunities, and we were just never able to catch up to them.
“This senior class was the first group to go through the junior high program that I started here five years ago. They have been a big part of this program in so many ways. They have very big hearts and they always left it on the field, and that is really hard to say goodbye to.”
It was the final soccer match for seniors Alex Greer, Sammy Hemphill, John Michael Roberts, Jarrett Martin, Tyler Stewart, Chayse Casto and Winston Wade in the Blue and White.
Alex Greer allowed two goals and made one save in net for GAHS, while Caden Wilt made three saves and stopped one shot in the second half for the hosts.
Drew Scarberry stopped 15 shots in net for the Mohawks, who advance to the D-2 sectional semifinals Tuesday night when they travel to top-seeded Warren for a 5 p.m. contest.