STEUBENVILLE - Like the "Little Engine that Could", the Beaver Local boys soccer team kept chugging along with a 1-0 overtime win over Steubenville Big Red in the Ohio Division II Sectional co-final Saturday at Harding Stadium.
"To play with the intensity we played with in that overtime with just 11 players was amazing," said Beaver Local head coach Mike Hilliard.
"I don't know where they got it from, but they knew what they needed to do, and they did it."
SATURDAY SOCCER — Steubenville Big Red’s Brandon Llewellyn prepares to play the ball during Saturday’s 1-0 loss in overtime to Beaver Local in the Ohio Division II?Eastern District co-final at Harding Stadium.
Playing with no subs, the Beavers battled with Big Red to a scoreless tie through 80 minutes of regulation, and with 7:51 left overtime DeShawn Parker broke loose and beat Big Red goaltender John Paul Duff for the game-deciding goal.
"He was so close the entire to breaking one," said Hilliard. "He finally got his chance and he buried it."
Added Big Red head coach Greg Bowers, "Dominic (DiCarlo) did a great job guarding DeShawn Parker all game. He just got free one time, and he hurt us."
Just moments before Parker's heroics Big Red narrowly missed ending the game itself.
"We had an outstanding effort today," said Bowers. "A focused effort. They execcuted our game plan, and that gave us a chance.
"We almost had a score right before they got their's. That's just the way it goes."
Throughout the match both teams' defenses came up with one brilliant stop after another as each team provided itself with strong scoring opportunities.
The Beavers looked poised to strike with about 14 minutes left in regulation on a rebound opportunity. Duff made a diving stop, but the ball ricocheted in front of the net ready for a Beaver Local player to punch it home. Big Red's Brian Brown made a strong play to clear the ball and preserve the tie.
"With our flat back, that's what it's supposed to do," said Bowers. "They cover for each other. We always have someone to help backside, and they take great pride in running it.
"They do a great job."
Both goalies played games worthy of victory with Duff and Beaver Local's Brandon Fetty turning away 10 shots.
With the loss ending Big Red's season, Bowers said farewell to another strong senior class.
"We started with this class as freshman having only one player which was Shane (Fabros)," he said.
"Shane's played four years, and gave an outstanding effort. Rashaun (Jenkins) and Kesaun (Austin) came in as juniors and picked right up with what we do as a program.
"Brandon (Llewellyn) and Stefano (Lanni) gave outstanding team leadership and played hard. Joe (DuBois) was a strong defensive leader. We're going to miss them all."
Beaver Local advances to the district final Tuesday at 7 p.m. at River View where it faces the winner of Dover and Maysville.
"It's unbelievable to advance," said Hilliard. "The effort was amazing. I'm speechless."