Eagles boys soccer team captures first district title
By Tom Williams
United speed demon Jonathan Logan took the field for Saturday’s Division III boys soccer district title game sitting on 99 career goals.
The Golden Eagles’ school record of 100 was set by Riley Fillman in 2014. So when Logan scored just 86 seconds into the game against Mineral Ridge, you might think he could relax a little bit.
Logan, who scored three more goals in the 5-2 victory, felt otherwise.
“I don’t think it [relaxed me],” Logan said. “I was definitely pushing for that record.”
Zach Jewell sprung Logan with a long pass to create his first breakaway. Logan forced Rams goalkeeper Jacob Carfolo to commit and fall, then moved the ball past him for the tap-in score.
Ten minutes later, Logan had the Eagles record with another breakaway goal. Jaret Hahn set up the play with a long free kick that found Logan running down the sideline.
United won it’s first district title. The Eagles’ only other district championship game was in 1999.
With 14:49 remaining before halftime, Jewell scored for a 3-0 lead.
“We’ve been building up to this the last couple of years,” United coach Curtis Jones said. “[It feels] pretty good.”
United will play Kidron Central Christian on Wednesday at a site to be announced today.
Jones said the Eagles (16-1-2) added Ursuline, Warren Harding and Tuscarawas Valley to the schedule.
Jones said perennial power South Range moving up to Division II opened the district.
“Everything got shuffled around and we knew we had a chance to show just what we can accomplish,” Jones said.
In its third varsity season, Mineral Ridge (15-4) played in its first district final game.
“We did two years as a club [team] to prove to the school that we could sustain the program,” Rams coach Ted Gaydosh said.
Gaydosh said the Rams are the first co-ed squad in the state to advance to a district title game in 10 seasons, maybe more.
The Eagles led 4-0 with 19 minutes remaining when the Rams were awarded a penalty kick. Garret Smith beat Eagles goalkeeper Noah Brieck. Three minutes later, Smith scored on a free kick.
“The second half, it got a little dicey,” Jones said. ”That got us up against the ropes — the game was getting physical.”
Logan put the game out of reach with his fourth goal with 11:36 remaining.
After scoring 22 goals last season, Jones said he challenged Logan to try for 30 in his final varsity season.
“I feel like he under-performed last year,” Jones said. “He did a lot of assisting, very unselfish play last year.”
This year, Logan met the challenge and then some, netting 55.
Logan said it hasn’t sunk in that the Eagles are in the Final 16 in the state for the first time.
“It will,” Logan said.
The Rams will lose four seniors — Braedynn Porter, Ally Ward, Nate Spalding and Gage Hostetler.
Despite breaking her ankle in Tuesday’s win over Crestview, Porter was in the starting lineup then immediately removed.
‘She’s a three-year letter-winner,” Gaydosh said. “For her being on the field for those few seconds was something. We’re very appreciative of United for the show of good sportsmanship.”