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Bruins headed to OVAC Class 5A final

Brooke boys have a date with Big Red on Saturday for title

KICKING INTO HIGH GEAR — Brooke’s Eddie Marks attempts a corner shot against Parkersburg South during Wednesday’s OVAC Class 5A semifinal contest. -Joe Catullo

WELLSBURG — The Brooke boys soccer team has punched its ticket to the big dance.

Eddie Marks recorded two goals and an assist to lead top-seeded Brooke to a 5-0 victory against No. 4 seed Parkersburg South in an OVAC Class 5A tournament semifinal Wednesday night on Paul “Bud” Billiard Field inside Brooke Memorial Stadium.

“It was a good night for the boys,” Brooke (8-1-1) head coach Joe Pepe said. “It was a good night for the team. They played extremely well. They played as a team. They are gelling together. I think early on there were a lot of nerves. This is the first time Brooke High has been to the OVACs in at least five years. These seniors have never been here, so it has been at least five years.

“The last time we made it we went down to Morgantown and lost, 1-0. These seniors were not there. We kept telling them about it. The kids have worked hard. The kids have adapted well. I cannot ask for anything more out of them. I was a little worried early on because we could not find the back of the net. Once we got on through, it opened the gates.”

Also for the Bruins, Telmo Randazzo tallied two goals, Hunter Adams delivered a goal and an assist and William Cruny contributed two assists. Liam Cronin added an assist.

Brooke used two goalies in the game. Andrew Coursin started the game in the net, and he made two saves before being replaced by Jeremy Gilchrist late in the second half. Gilchrist did not make a save.

Garrett Lewis made 13 saves for the Patriots (1-7).

“Parkersburg South came up ready to play,” Pepe said. “They played hard. I talked to their head coach, and he said he couldn’t be here, but his assistant and his team would be here. They were ready. They came to play. I’m the oldest coach — not by age but by tenure — so I am able to talk to all of these people. Their head coach told me he could not make it, but his team he would be there, and they would be ready. Take nothing away from them. They worked hard. They played hard the whole game.”

The game was scoreless for more than 30 minutes.

“I think there was a little bit of nerves,” Pepe said. “These kids have never been here before. Coach Dan (Shorts) and I were pounding them about it. We were talking to them about it.”

Marks finally put the Bruins on the scoreboard when he scored with 9:53 left to play in the first half, giving Brooke a 1-0 lead.

The victors extended their advantage to 2-0 a little more than four minutes later when Marks scored his second goal off of a cross from Adams with 5:42 remaining in the half.

“This is the first time we have been on a run like this,” Pepe said. “Hopefully, we are able to keep it going.”

The Bruins struck quickly in the second half, as Adams found the back of the net 47 seconds into the half to increase Brooke’s advantage to 3-0.

Then, Randazzo delivered his first goal about six minutes later to make the score 4-0, and he added his second less than a minute later to make it 5-0.

“I told them they can’t look ahead,” Pepe said. “We told them we have seen some things from a good team in Big Red. They move the ball well. I was afraid we would be looking ahead. You have to take care of what is on your plate first before you can look ahead. Big Red is well coached and well schooled. They are going to be ready.”

With the win, the Bruins have advanced to the tournament final against Big Red at noon Saturday at Brooke. Big Red, the No. 2 seed, advanced to the final by defeating No. 3 John Marshall, 8-1, in the other semifinal Tuesday evening on Reno Field inside Harding Stadium.

There is a lot of mutual respect between Pepe and Big Red head coach Greg Bowers.

“Big Red has a very good program,” Pepe said. “He has done a good job since taking over the program. I was at Weir for 21 years, and we have now been here for seven years. Coach Dan and I are home.”

Pepe guided the Red Riders to an OVAC championship back in 1996.

“We beat Brooke, 2-1, down on the Island. How about that? I graduated from Brooke in 1974. I am back home,” Pepe said.

Brooke is going to spend the next couple of days preparing for Big Red.

“We are going to practice tomorrow, and then we are going to go light on Friday,” Pepe said. “We are going to discuss some things. We are going to work on some things. We are going to have a little longer practice than normal. We are going to go over a lot of what Big Red does.”

The Bruins have two tournament titles. Brooke won in 2004 when Eric Fries was the head coach, and then the team won it 2006 with John Zumpetta at the helm.

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