Columbus North and East Central reminded deadlocked in the first 20 minutes of action in Saturday boys’ soccer regional final.
It was all the Bull Dogs from that point forward.
North picked up three quick goals before halftime. The Trojans scored a goal in the second half, but the Bull Dogs would not be denied what they have worked hard for all season in claiming the 3-1 win.
This is North’s first regional title since 2013. The site for this year’s semistate will be Jeffersonville or Evansville and will be determined today.
Story continues below gallery
The Bull Dogs (15-5-1) will face Class 2A No. 9 Evansville Memorial, which defeated Terre Haute North 5-0 in the Jasper Regional championship.
The win is a special moment to the North seniors, who are hoping to make one last push in their final season.
“It feels very exciting right now,” North senior Nick Beales said. “This is the first time I’ve experienced this. This senior class is leading, and we have a lot of juniors and sophomores that are stepping up and we are collective as a team. Semistate is going to be a tough test, but I think we can do it.”
East Central almost had the first goal of the game in the fifth minute when Jonathan Bischoff timed his jump perfectly to stay onside and was on the breakaway. North goalkeeper Zach Green made the biggest save of his career after Bischoff’s shot went right at him, and he was able to collect the rebound, as well.
“I knew I had to find a way to keep it out of the net,” said Green, who recorded three saves. “We have been prepared for this moment all season, and we are finally getting the results we are looking for.”
The scoreless tie was broken in the 20th minute, when Alex McGill found Jake Osborne, who kicked a perfect shot just below the crossbar when Trojan goalkeeper Austin Mosley could not get it.
The second goal came in the 34th minute when Vinicius Viana’s kick sailed past Mosley to extend the Bull Dogs lead to 2-0.
“My goal was very important and now I am happy we are going to the semistate,” Viana said.
The final goal for North was one for the highlight reel. In the 37th minute, Beales’ pass across the field took a deflection off of the crossbar, and the ball landed right at the feet of Kaemon Jiles, who delivered a perfect one-touch pass back to Beales, who finished the play on the left side of the field.
“When I got the ball, I saw one of the (East Central) defenders coming right at me, so I could not get a second touch on the ball,” Jiles said. “I found Nick on the first touch and ended up getting the goal.”
Beales credited Jiles for his great awareness.
“I looked right at him, and he saw me, and it was the perfect ball in and I was able to finish,” Beales said.
North will be shorthanded when it faces Memorial on Saturday. Osborne was issued a red card in the closing minutes of the game and will have to sit out the first semistate match.
It is the next-man-up approach for North coach Andy Glover.
“This is a good moment, but unfortunately we will not be 100 percent,” Glover said. “We will move on and field the best and most competitive team we can against a very good and polished Evansville Memorial team.”