CENTENARY, Ohio — What a way to kick off in a new conference.
That’s because the Gallia Academy High School soccer squad, in opening Ohio Valley Conference action, squashed the Chesapeake Panthers 6-1 on Thursday night at Gallia Academy High School’s Lester Field.
The Blue Devils scored a pair of goals in the opening half before four more goals, including three by senior striker Isaiah Lester, in the second.
The only Panther point came with 11 minutes remaining in the contest.
The Blue Devils, formerly of the lameduck Southeastern Ohio Athletic League in soccer, are in their initial season of competing in the OVC — which itself is in its first season of soccer as a conference.
Chesapeake, Fairland, Gallia Academy, Rock Hill and South Point all offer the sport.
The Blue Devils are now 1-2-0 overall.
Against Chesapeake, Gallia Academy amounted a 2-0 halftime lead — thanks to goals by Miguel Velasco with 32 minutes left and by Lester at the 26-minute mark.
Lester landed three more goals in the second stanza, increasing his tally total to nine for the season.
He scored with 28, 23 and finally with two minutes remaining, while Erin Lincoln added her first goal of the year — at the 23-minute juncture.
Through their opening two matches, in which the Blue Devils faced Alexander and Athens, Lester had scored the first five goals of the campaign.
Four Blue Devils accounted for five assists on Thursday, including Pedro Carrascal with a pair.
Velasco, Madi Oiler and Jacob Ratliff registered assists as well.
Gallia Academy outshot the Panthers 23-7, including six shots apiece by Lester, Lincoln and Velasco.
The Blue Devils also collected three corner kicks compared to one for Chesapeake.
Gallia Academy goalkeepers Ben Rutherford and Andrew Toler combined for three saves, including two by Toler.
The Blue and White will return to action on Tuesday night at another former SEOAL foe — Warren.
Warren — like Athens, Alexander and even Jackson — are now non-league tilts for GAHS.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106