Morgan stuns, eliminates Creek with late goal
WINTERSVILLE — Some losses hurt more than others.
The Indian Creek boys soccer team experienced on of the team’s more painful losses in the history of the program Saturday afternoon against Morgan.
The No. 12 seed Redskins led by a goal two times in the first half only to see the No. 15 seed Raiders come back and tie the score and eventually take a one-goal lead of their own. Indian Creek tied the score with 7 minutes left to play only to see Morgan score less than two minutes later, enabling the Raiders to escape Kettlewell Field with a 4-3 victory in a Division II Eastern District sectional final.
“It’s a heartbreaker,” Indian Creek (7-6-3) head coach Chuck Brettell said. “We have never won a sectional title, and I thought today was going to be the day.”
The Redskins led 1-0 and 2-1 in the first half before the Raiders scored the final two goals of the half to take a 3-2 lead at halftime. After Indian Creek tied the score at 3-3, Morgan netted the game-winner with 5:31 left to play.
“Unlike most of teams in the past, this team is chalk full on internal motivation,” Morgan (12-6) head coach Greg Jacomet said. “In the past, when we would get down or lose the lead. We would collapse, and I would have to provide the motivation. This team has internal motivation.”
With the win, Morgan will play No. 2 seed New Philadelphia in the district semifinals at 6 p.m. Wednesday at location to be announced. New Philadelphia advanced to the game by defeating No. 18 seed Cambridge, 5-0, on Saturday.
“One of our central defenders got a red card,” Jacomet said. “We will see what happens.”
Gunnar Brettell tallied two goals and an assist to lead the way for the Redskins, while Markel Papola collected the other goal. Coy Amis made one save in goal.
Hayden Paige produced a pair of goals and an assist to lead the way for Morgan, while Carver Myers recorded two goals and Connor Counterman collected two assists. Logan Raines made four saves in goal.
“We do not produce a lot of skilled soccer players,” Jacomet said. “We are in the largest soccer desert in the state. We are 45 miles from Zanesville, from Athens and from Marietta. We have to develop other ways to score goals.”
Two of Morgan’s four goals came off of throw-ins by Counterman. He assisted on a goal by Paige and one by Myers.
“This is my responsibility,” coach Brettell said. “This falls on me. I’m down. They need a better coach. They need a younger coach. This hurts more than any loss we have had. The kids played hard. It was nip-and-tuck.”
Papola opened the scoring when he headed the ball into the back of the net off of a corner kick by Gunnar Brettell to give the Redskins a 1-0 lead with 31:13 left to play in the first half.
The Raiders tied the score on the first goal of the game by Myers with 12:33 remaining to be played. Paige sent a free kick into the box, and Myers was able to knock the ball into the back of the net to knot the score at 1-1.
Gunnar Brettell then regained the lead for Indian Creek at 2-1 when he scored on a penalty kick with 8:45 left to play in the half.
“It is never easy,” coach Brettell said. “There is no such thing as an easy game. We did have a winning season. We did a lot of good things this season. We took a step forward this season.”
The lead did not last long, as Paige scored to tie the score at 2-2 with 6:25 remaining in the first half.
The Raiders took the lead at 3-2 when Paige scored off of a throw-in by Counterman with 4:13 still showing on the clock. Morgan held the lead until Gunnar Brettell scored his second goal on a penalty kick to tie the score at 3-all.
The 12 wins is the most the Raiders have had in a single season.
“This year is a big surprise,” Jacomet said. “This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. We tied the school record for most wins in our last game, and we beat the record today. We only have one senior. We were expecting to learn this season, but our five junior captains have really stepped up.”
The game was the final one for Indian Creek’s eight seniors — Gunnar Brettell, Corey Pearce, Joey Vandine, Carlo Potenzini, Aric Exterovich, Carson Clark, Papola and Amis.
“I feel worse for our seniors,” coach Brettell said. “We had three senior starters. They are the winningest senior class here. You want to focus on the positives.”
Morgan defeated No. 24 seed Philo, 5-1, in the semifinals Wednesday on the road.
“This was a hard-fought match,” Jacomet said. “We have never played on this field. It was a little narrow.”