TAMPA — The frustration was apparent for Steinbrenner defender Zach Yarish as he made his way to his team’s bench, his jersey pulled up over his head after drawing a handball penalty in the box, earning East Lake a penalty shot in the final 10 minutes of regulation and meaning the Warriors would be forced to play a man down the rest of the way in Friday’s Class 5A-District 7 final.
The move by Yarish stopped an on-target Eagles shot and was made even more significant as the ensuing penalty kick — in a tie game — was shanked and went skidding to the left of the goal. From there, what Steinbrenner coach Chad Ebright and Yarish’s teammates called the “play of the match” served more inspiration than hindrance as the Warriors, playing at a personnel disadvantage for the second straight match, played the Eagles strong, forced overtime and won 2-1 on a golden goal from senior Blake Wilson in the 87th minute.
“I think Zach is our most valuable player tonight,” Wilson said. “I know he was upset about it when it happened, but he definitely won us this game by saving that goal.”
East Lake (18-3-1) forward Kevin Grywczynski took advantage in the first half of a poor clearance on the part of the Warriors, finding a ball at his feet facing the goal from just outside the box and delivering a goal in the 21st minute.
The rest of the first half was played evenly, and Steinbrenner (16-1-1) found the net to even the match when David McGee sent a through-ball to Andres Saenz, who split defenders and sent a shot along the grass for a goal.
The Eagles carried play most of the second half, but East Lake found little success against the Warriors’ back line and keeper Christian Knight, who recorded 10 saves in the match.
5A-6: Van Der Luit hat trick lifts Newsome
DOVER — Newsome High’s Jake Van Der Luit scored a hat trick to lead the Wolves to the Class 5A-District 6 championship with a 5-1 victory against Durant.
The game featured five players and two Durant coaches receiving yellow cards. Players were pushed and thrown down as frustration mounted when Newsome took a 4-0 lead.
In the first half, Newsome had nine shots on goal, scoring two, including a penalty kick by Van Der Luit, who was set up inside the Durant goalie box. The second goal came from Jacob Chadwell, who received a long kick pass from Austin Cobb that was perfectly placed in front on him, running at full stride.
In the second half, the Wolves had nine shots on goal, with Eric Lint scoring once and Van Der Luit adding his second and third. That marked five goals in two tournament games for Van Der Luit, who had previously been out with an ankle injury.
Javier Jamenez scored the lone Cougar goal on 24 attempts by the team.
4A-8: Wiregrass Ranch earns first district title
TAMPA — Wiregrass Ranch captured the first boys soccer district title in school history, defeating top-seeded Mitchell 2-1 in a drama-filled final at Leto.
The Bulls (20-1-2) scored two unlikely first-half goals generated by freshman Chris Faddoul, and held off a furious Mitchell rally in the second half with stellar goalkeeping by Alex Cypriano.
“That game could easily have shifted a whole bunch of different ways,” coach David Wilson said. “It took a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck. My guys sacrificed themselves.”
Wiregrass was the beneficiary of an own goal by Mitchell just four minutes into the game, the result of Leto’s small field and a long throw-in by Faddoul that was headed into the net inadvertently by a Mustangs defender. Faddoul made it 2-0 in the 26th minute with a rising 30-yard shot that found the top left corner of the net.
Mitchell (20-3-1) cut the lead to 2-1 when Brady Friedman redirected a centering pass from Mico Petrovich into the net with 25 minutes to play. But despite outshooting the Bulls 12-9 in the second half, they could not force overtime.
The Bulls formed a pile at midfield after the historic win and doused Wilson with ice water in 40-degree temperatures.
– Bart O’Connell
4A-9: Hillsborough prevails against King
BRANDON — Jake Kennard scored twice off assists from Blake Rehl, helping Hillsborough defend its Class 4A-District 9 title with a 4-1 victory against King on Friday.
Kennard opened the scoring in the 24th minute, heading a feed from Rehl past goalkeeper Nathaniel Johnson. The pair struck again with eight minutes left in the match.
Matias Marchi and Alejandro Tovar also scored for Hillsborough (10-6-3), which won the district championship last season as the sixth seed. Seeded fifth this year, the Terriers eliminated the top two seeds on successive nights, including an overtime upset of No. 1 Brandon.
King (13-6-6) dealt visiting Hillsborough its worst loss of the season by a 5-0 count in November.
Zack Wolf worked a scoreless first half in the Hillsborough net. Tim Elko preserved the shutout bid after halftime until Eduardo Feliciano broke through for King in the closing moments.
– Bob Bellone
3A-8: Sunlake takes third straight crown
NEW PORT RICHEY — When these two teams play, there’s no love lost.
In yet another tough, physical meeting of crosstown rivals Land O’ Lakes and Sunlake, it was the Seahawks who prevailed for the fifth time in as many meetings and won the Class 3A-District 8 title 3-1 against the Gators.
It was Sunlake’s (26-1-1) third straight district title.
“I’m very proud and happy for many of the seniors, who now have three district titles,” Seahawks coach Sam Koleduk said.
After a scoreless first half in which Sunlake outshot Land O’ Lakes 11-3, the Seahawks had three goals in a four-minute span to take the lead.
First, Cobi Shirmo put away a long throw-in by Connor Spencer in the 53rd minute, then Shirmo sent in a cross that Spencer buried on a one-timer in the 54th minute.
In the 57th minute, sophomore Remi Pimm scored his Pasco County-leading 55th goal of the season.
The game was chippy throughout thanks to the heated rivalry, but Land O’ Lakes (15-7-1) finally got on the board when Glenn Johnson was awarded, and put away, a penalty kick in the 71st minute.
– Mike Camunas
3A-9: Jesuit eases past Bradenton Southeast
TAMPA — For the 25th time in 27 years, Jesuit has won a district soccer championship.
The Tigers’ latest title came Friday night in the Class 3A-District 9 final with a 3-0 victory against Bradenton Southeast — in a game that was locked 0-0 through the first 30 minutes.
The breakthrough came in the 33rd minute when 6-foot-4 Michael Conlon leaped high and headed a ball into the back of the net. Two minutes later, Daryian Flores picked up a ricochet off a Southeast defender and chipped in a goal for the Tigers’ second score.
Jesuit (13-4-3) dominated the rest of the way and sealed the victory with a goal by Connar Lufkin in the 66th minute.
Throughout the game, Southeast (11-8-2) struggled to create much of any offense and finished with just one shot on goal.
“We’re a different team (at home on the larger field),” Jesuit coach Eric Sims said. “We’ve struggled at times on some of the smaller high school fields, but here we can play our game.”
– Scott Purks
2A-9: Berkeley Prep outlasts CCC 1-0
ST. PETERSBURG — Friday night’s Class 2A-District 9 championship, hosted by St. Petersburg Catholic, featured shoving, red cards and even an entire team receiving a yellow card for taunting the crowd.
All that aside, Berkeley Prep, down a man for most of the second half, was able to hold on for a 1-0 victory against rival Clearwater Central Catholic. The Buccaneers were able to claim their seventh consecutive district title, despite being a sub-.500 team during the regular season.
“We always had the team to do it,” Berkeley Prep coach Tim Cooper said. “It just took finding some leadership and coming together. When we went a man down, a couple seniors said we have to step up, and that’s what we’ve been missing.”
Berkeley Prep (7-10-5) threatened to score numerous times, but the Buccaneers’ lone goal came in the 37th minute when midfielder Quinton Kauchick was fouled in the box and was awarded a penalty kick by officials. Kauchick would knock home the penalty kick past CCC goalkeeper Dominic Grchan to give Berkeley the 1-0 advantage, but he and his teammates received a yellow card for taunting the crowd.
CCC (8-8-4) searched desperately for an equalizer and could not find it.
– Andy Villamarzo
1A-5: Carrollwood Day tops Seffner Christian
SPRING HILL — After a scoreless first half, top-seeded Carrollwood Day had four goals in the second to top Seffner Christian (11-8-1) 4-0 in a 1A-District 5 semifinal.
In the other semifinal, Bishop McLaughlin held off Cambridge Christian 3-2. Carrollwood Day faces Bishop McLaughlin this afternoon for the title.
The Patriots (15-4-1) opened the scoring when midfielder Mason Anderson led top scorer Miguel Ridruejo in stride for a breakaway goal with 19:08 remaining. Just 90 seconds later, defender John Frost stole the ball near the Crusaders goal for the second score. Freshman midfielder Reed Ham scored from beyond 50 feet, just over the outstretched arms of the leaping goalie. Defender Michael Morse finished the scoring with 8:27 remaining on a header.
Bishop McLaughlin (15-1-2) scored three consecutive first-half goals, then held on to defeat Cambridge Christian.
The visiting Lancers scored first when forward Nathaniel Rivas scored on a breakaway. The Hurricanes’ comeback was led by leading scorer Alex Stafford, who was instrumental in all three goals. Stafford scored twice, then led Steven Ackard with a pass for a breakaway goal. The Hurricanes took a 3-1 halftime lead that held until the final minute, when Christian Olvey scored from a few feet away.
– Cliff Gill