On a beautiful Saturday, Oct. 19, the Miami Trace Panthers soccer team hosted Frontier Athletic Conference rivals Jackson for a Division II Sectional championship match.
The Panthers were looking for their fourth consecutive such title.
In the third match of the season, the Jackson Ironmen once again frustrated the Panthers, this time by a final score of 3-1.
The match was hard-fought to the point of being contentious at times.
Jackson led the Panthers at halftime, 2-0.
Jackson scored on a penalty kick with 15 minutes to play in the first half.
With seven minutes remaining in the half, Jackson converted another penalty kick, taking a 2-0 lead into the halftime break.
Jackson had five shots in the first half to seven for the Panthers.
Justin Shoemaker had one save for the Panthers to three saves for Jackson.
With 26:50 to play in the match, Jackson scored on an indirect free kick to take a 3-0 lead.
Miami Trace got on the board with a penalty kick by Caleb Perry with 6:40 to play in the game.
Miami Trace had 16 shots on goal to 13 for Jackson.
Shoemaker had 12 saves and Jackson had 10 saves.
The Panthers end the season with a record of 12-6.
Jackson will take on Alexander in the District semifinals Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Logan High School.
Marietta, who defeated Hillsboro 6-1, will take on Athens in the other semifinal Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Athens beat McClain, 5-3.
“This senior class hit double-digit wins three times in their four years,” Miami Trace head coach Josh Thoroman said. “They’ve got the only three Sectional titles in school history (2016, 2017 and 2018). They had the only two No. 1 seeds in school history (2018 and 2019).
“We’ve accomplished a lot,” Thoroman said. “On paper, this is an upset. But, Jackson’s a good, strong team.
“We’ve been unlucky as you can get against (Jackson),” Thoroman said. “We’re 0-6-1 against them. I went back to 2003 and we haven’t beaten them since ‘03; beyond that, I’m not really sure. I know they got us a couple of times when I was in high school (playing for Miami Trace). I don’t know if we’ve ever beaten them. In the time that we’ve been here, (the scores have been) 1-4, 0-1, 0-1, 1-1, 0-2, 1-2, 1-3.
“Of the seven goals they scored on us this season, three of them came off penalty kicks,” Thoroman said. “Two of them came from corner kicks. (Jackson) did not score against us in the run of play. They took advantage of a couple of set plays and penalty kicks.
“After the game, their coaching staff said that they feel like our program continues to be on the rise,” Thoroman said. “They recognize that we’re losing a big senior class, but they said they hate to admit, but they feel like we’re still on the rise.”
Miami Trace placed third in the FAC at 6-4. Chillicothe won the conference going 9-0-1. Jackson was second at 8-2.
McClain was fourth at 4-6, Hillsboro was fifth at 2-7-1 and Washington was sixth at 0-10.
Five of the six teams in the FAC won at least one tournament game. Only Chillicothe lost in its first match, at home 2-1 in overtime to Whitehall (Division I).
“We lose 12 seniors and two foreign exchange students (Jaron Akkermann and Miguel Iturriagagoitia Azagra),” Thoroman said. “We kept 38 players within the program this season. We’ve got those 24 and the eighth grade will be sending us six. Our numbers will look good again next year. I think we’ll be surprising next season. I’ll just leave it at this; we’ll be okay next year.”
Seniors this year were: Kody Burns, Kyler Conn, Grant DeBruin, Henry DeBruin, Simon DeBruin, Jacob Downing, Storm Duffy, Jacob Harris, Caleb Perry, Gavin Puckett, Devin Riggs and Justin Shoemaker.