JACKSON — On Wednesday, Oct. 20 the No. 10 seeded Miami Trace boys soccer team travelled to No. 7 seeded Jackson for a Sectional championship game.
Miami Trace put together a complete game and defeated Jackson 4-2 for their fourth sectional championship in the 33 years of soccer at Miami Trace. Miami Trace boys soccer first took the field in 1989.
Senior captain Noah Perry took a ball down the left side of the field, eluded a defender, and then shot in a goal just 1:08 into the game, (with 38:52 remaining in the first half). His beautiful shot curved right around the keeper.
Jackson equalized a little over a minute later with 37:35 remaining in the half. Jackson scored again on about a 30-yard long shot with 29:33 to go in the half.
Both Jackson goals came from Miami Trace missing defensive assignments. The score was 2-1 in favor of Jackson at halftime.
Just three minutes and 33 seconds into the second half, Noah Perry found senior captain Connor Bucher on the run and split the defenders playing the ball through to Bucher. Bucher charged through the Jackson defense, received the ball and placed his shot past the diving Jackson goal keeper.
With nine minutes remaining in the game, Miami Trace senior Nfanly Mara was hauled down in the penalty box, drawing a penalty kick. Mara stepped to the penalty spot and calmly made the shot to put the Panthers ahead 3-2.
Jackson played with a huge sense of urgency but the Panthers turned back their attacks every time.
Minutes later, Nfanly Mara would score again on an assist by senior Hayden Hunter. Hunter played the ball through to Mara, who had slipped behind the Jackson defenders to an open goal. It was a crushing blow to Jackson.
Miami Trace sent several substitutes into the game and the energy level was through the roof. Jackson’s starters were exhausted and defeated.
The win was especially sweet for the Panthers because they had been 0-9-2 vs Jackson since Jackson had entered the Frontier Athletic Conference five years ago.
Miami Trace plays at Gallia Academy in a District semifinal match Tuesday at 5 p.m.