FLEMING ISLAND – Fleming Island could not overcome two goals by Creekside senior Jacob McLeod or the surgical throw-ins of Colby McCrone as the visiting Knights surprised the Golden Eagles 4-1 …
FLEMING ISLAND – Fleming Island could not overcome two goals by Creekside senior Jacob McLeod or the surgical throw-ins of Colby McCrone as the visiting Knights surprised the Golden Eagles 4-1 in the District 3-6A championship game on Friday, February 7.
Both teams will play again in the region 1-6A quarterfinal on Wed., Feb. 12 with Creekside, third seeded, hosting Fleming Island (13-3-3, 4A region semifinalist last year), sixth seeded. In the opposite bracket, second seed Leon (16-4-3, a 4A region finalist last year) hosting seventh seed Tallahassee Lincoln (11-3-5). The region semifinal is scheduled for Sat., Feb. 15.
Ridgeview High, a third seed in district 4-3A, upended Palatka in their semifinal then survived a 1-1 regulation game against Pedro Menendez before winning on penalty kicks to win the district championship.
Ridgeview coach Paul Tomaro, who has worked through an 8-8-2 regular season record with a series of injures, will host West Florida High (11-8-5, a 3A region quarterfinalist last year) in their region opener on Wed., Feb. 12. On the opposite side of the bracket, top-seed Arnold (14-4-2, a 3A region finalist last year) hosts eighth-seed Yulee (9-5-2, a 2A region quarterfinalist last year).
“Everyone is finally healthy and things are coming together,” said Tomaro. “Max Bennett was in goal for the shootout and made two saves and the last one for the victory. Nick Clark scored the goal to make it 1-1 in regulation play.”
For the Panthers, Liam McDonald, Bryan Ortiz and Jacob Striecher all converted their penalty kicks for the win.
Ridgeview beat Ed White 12-0 in their district opener then beat second seed Baker County 4-1 with goals from Juan Jaramillo, Jacob Striecher, Lorenzo Forlani and Bryan Ortiz.
On Friday at Fleming Island, Creekside (10-4-3), who entered the district tournament as the number three seed, avenged a 3-1 loss to Fleming Island on December 4 by playing aggressively on defense and running their offense with precision.
McLeod scored both of his goals on headers off of set plays. He scored the game-winner with 22:30 remaining, breaking a 1-1 tie off of a free kick from midfield by McCrone. McCrone’s high boot traveled
all the way into the box, then ricocheted off several players to Knights striker Aldin Tahirovic on the left wing. Tahirovic sent the ball sharply back into the box, where McLeod headed it past Golden Eagles goalie Frank Rooney.
Five minutes later, McLeod extended the lead to two goals when, facing away from the goal, he used the back of his head to redirect a throw-in from McCrone from the left sideline. Any time Creekside was awarded possession on the sideline on the offensive end, McCrone gave the Knights a chance to score by heaving the ball all the way into the box.