MOUNT VERNON — It wasn’t supposed to end this way.
The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets boys soccer team fell, and fell hard, Saturday night at home to Reynoldsburg, 2-0, in the Sectional Final.
The Jackets spent all year improving on teamwork, on passing, on dribbling, on defense. But the one thing they still struggled with was being physical with their opponents.
That’s what the Reynoldsburg Raiders (9-6-3) do best. They were physical. And the officials, for the most part, swallowed their whistles and let the players play. It was the perfect storm.
It started out promising for Mount Vernon (11-3-3). Kyle Henthorn and Brandyn McQuigg led a couple of early attacks on goal. But the shots didn’t come. Reynoldsburg’s defenders used the old strategy of knocking the ball out of bounds to give the rest of the team time to aid the defense.
On the other side, Mount Vernon’s defenders shut down the Raiders’ attack –– for awhile. Collin Riley and Trent Kiger outran the Reynoldsburg attackers, taking the ball away with nice steals and slide-tackles. When they couldn’t get the stop, goalkeeper Chris Omahan was there for the save.
But the defense cracked. Twice. It was enough, though, for Reynoldsburg to take advantage.
At the 24-minute mark, three Reynoldsburg forwards burst into the box. Using an all-out assault, Alec Everts finally had an open look. One kick later, the Jackets were down 1-0.