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Weir High boys fall short in sectional final, 3-1

WHEELING — For the third straight year, the Wheeling Central boys soccer team earned the Class AA/A Region 1 Section 1 championship.

The Maroon Knights will get another taste of the regional final, as they secured a 3-1 victory over Weir High Saturday night at the 16th Street Sports Complex. Wheeling Central will face Fairmont Senior, the reigning state champion, in the regional final.

“Weir is a good team. It’s just a good battle every time,” Wheeling Central coach Brian Komoroski said. “We knew were going to have a little bit of adversity because of some injuries. We got a couple of kids in quarantine. All in all, I thought we played a really good game.

“First half was a little flat, but in the second half, we came out and played with a lot of energy. You could definitely see the result after that.”

The Maroon Knights, though, did score the lone goal of the first half. With 28:18 left, Austin Nestor took advantage of a penalty kick and buried the ball in the back of the net.

Near the end of the half though, the Red Riders had a few opportunities to tie the game. However, no shot would fall.

Although it was down, Weir came out hot in the second half and was able to knot it up at 1-1 right out of the gate. About 76 seconds into the second half, Dante Bruno scored off an assist from  Hunter Hildreth.

A little over 11 minutes later, though, Wheeling Central took the lead for good. Ryan Prager attempted a shot as the ball hit the right side of the goal post but was able to find it’s way in, as the score read 2-1 with 27:41 left in the game.

“Sometimes the shots don’t fall. That was the best the best game we played. We definitely seemed like the better team. The last time we played them (Wheeling Central), we did not seem like the better team,” Weir coach Matt Kopp said. “They won 4-2 then. I know I’ll get nicked for it, but I’d be remiss to say the refs helped them win the game. It’s not like they don’t deserve it, they are a good team. I think they are going to do just as well as we would, but there were definitely some questionable moments there that would have definitely changed that game. It’s just disappointing in this moment.”

The Red Riders had a couple more opportunities in the winding minutes to tie it up. With 1:42 left in the contest, Weir had a pair of corner kicks to capitalize off of. Unfortunately, it couldn’t get the right bounce.

Prager then put the final touches on the win for Wheeling Central as he scored his second goal with 9.9 seconds remaining.

Nestor also had an assist for the Maroon Knights, while goalkeeper Julio Gentile had one assist and seven saves.

Jonathan Howard supplied 10 saves for Weir.

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