2018-11-07 / Sports

AHS Boys Defeat Independence For Regional Championship


Elijah Zimmerman bounces a header in Archbold’s 3-0 regional championship win over Independence. The Streaks handed the Blue Devils their first and only loss of the season to advance to the state tournament.– photo by Mary Huber Elijah Zimmerman bounces a header in Archbold’s 3-0 regional championship win over Independence. The Streaks handed the Blue Devils their first and only loss of the season to advance to the state tournament.– photo by Mary Huber The Archbold boys soccer team continued its dominance this season, claiming its second regional championship in school history by defeating previously unbeaten and fourth-ranked Independence 3-0, Saturday, Nov. 3, at Port Clinton, to win a Division III regional championship.

In the only other meeting between the two teams, Archbold defeated Independence in the 2016 regional semifinals 3-1.

The Streaks advanced to their second state semifinal appearance in four seasons.

They were scheduled to face Kirtland last night, Tuesday, in Sandusky, in the second game of an Archbold Kirtland doubleheader, which also featured the girls state semifinal between the two teams.

“The boys deserve it,” said Sean Stewart, Archbold head coach. “They put in a tremendous effort throughout the season.

“Just to get better and really hit our best soccer at this time of year– to do that and have the belief and confidence to come out here and accomplish that goal is just awesome.”

“After beating Ottawa Hills, it gave us the belief that we actually could win state,” said Josh Kidder, a senior captain and the only starter on the only other AHS boys soccer team that advanced to state– in 2015.

“My freshman year it was a learning experience, playing with that group. We had the best chemistry.

“I just took everything I could from them and brought it to this team, and it’s paying off.”

Getting The Kinks Out

The game started as a feeling-out process for the Streaks, who had a difficult time with passing and possession.


Independence goalkeeper Ethan Manelski stops a shot before Clay Gerig (4) has the opportunity to get the rebound in their Div. III regional final.– photo by Mario Gomez Independence goalkeeper Ethan Manelski stops a shot before Clay Gerig (4) has the opportunity to get the rebound in their Div. III regional final.– photo by Mario Gomez Independence (19-1) had opportunities to score twice in the first half, but the shots hit the crossbar and side post.

It was the closest the Blue Devils came to scoring the remainder of the game as the Streaks settled and took control.

“The first 10-15 minutes they passed around us, and I think we had to get used to the pitch a little bit,” said Stewart.

“Once we did and once we got out and were able to run– we wear teams down when we run and get open spaces.”

In the 16th minute, Kidder’s direct kick was redirected back to him. He made a perfect pass to the middle of the goal box that Trey Theobald slammed into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

It was the only scoring in a tense first half for both teams.

Pulling Away For Good

Archbold wasted little time increasing its lead in the second half.

An Andrew Hogrefe corner kick was headed into the goal by Elijah Zimmerman with 37:15 left for a 2-0 lead.

Independence put the pressure on itself to pull back into the game, but desperation led to bad passing and possessions that never threatened.

“The game changes when you score a goal. That’s been our philosophy all year,” said Stewart.

“We score the goals and score them early, and the game changes for the opposition.

“They have to chase, they have to press, and we made them do that. We were able to capitalize on that.

“By the middle of the second half we had them on their heels, and we were able to go wave after wave of offense.”

AHS put the nail in the coffin when a Theobald shot attempt was stopped but followed in by Hogrefe on the rebound for a 3-0 lead with 11:57 left.

After the Streaks worked the final minutes off the clock, they celebrated their 17th straight win and continued their quest to capture the school’s first boys state soccer championship.

“(This is) fantastic for soccer in Archbold; for the school and for the community,” said Stewart.

“We’ve got four teams in the fall sports at Archbold that either went (boys golf) or are going (girls cross country, boys and girls soccer) to state.

“It says a lot about our community and our school and our kids.

“We’re just super proud to represent that, and hopefully give the other students here a bit of a thrill as we go through.”

Previous State Appearances

Archbold: 2015.

Dayton Christian: 1982

Grandview Heights: 2017, 2014 (2nd)

Kirtland: no previous appearances.

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