NO MORE HEAD Logan Price grimaced and grabbed his right hamstring Monday night. He’ll happily deal with the pain – it was gleefully suffered after another dramatic ending in a Boyd County-East Carter boys’ football series full of them.
“To be honest with you, I ran about 4.2 from there to there,” said the Lions coach unmoved, pointing first to his place on the sideline and then somewhere in front of the goal that Grant Chaffin had just hit a match winner. , “and then I realized what I had to do and picked it up.”
The Lions and Raiders were within two minutes of winning or coming home kicks for the third time in five years in a semifinal showdown of the 16th Regional Tournament on Monday night when Chaffin, lingering near from the right post, started JB Terrill’s ball into the net.
Boyd County won 2-1 at Paul Ousley Stadium in Rowan County to advance to Wednesday’s regional tournament final for the first time in three years.
“I just saw JB try to cross or shoot and saw him right there,” Chaffin said of the ball at his feet. “It’s just like a dream to be able to be back in the region final once again.”
The Lions (17-2) didn’t even have to go on penalties to do so, although Price changed his philosophy on preparing for the situation.
“For the first time in my entire career we’ve been practicing shots on goal over the last week and a half,” Price said, “because I didn’t want to be caught in a situation again (I didn’t. didn’t). We didn’t. we weren’t prepared, but I wanted it to be a little more serious in training. We put a little pressure on them in training. “
East Carter (10-7-2) also put pressure on the Lions on Monday. Austin Fruth of the Raiders opened the scoring in the eighth minute, chasing the perfectly executed pass and conversion from Christian Winter.
“It was something new to us, for a while,” Chaffin said of an early Boyd County deficit. “I’m just trying to build the momentum and the self-confidence and know that we just have to hold our heads up and keep going full blast.”
Terrill scored in the 21st minute to tie the game, and it stayed that way for 68 minutes.
“We talk a lot about life on this team, and I know it’s so cliché for a coach to say something like, ‘You’re going to get knocked over; it just depends on how you react.'” Price said, “but I look over there and I see Rylan (Keelin) and Cole (Sexton) and we calm everyone down. You need leaders like that.”
East Carter and Boyd County met in the regional tournament for the sixth consecutive season, with the Raiders winning four of the previous five. Among these meetings, two took place in PK, two others in overtime and another was decided by a goal.
That was the gist of the young Raiders’ introduction to the playoff rivalry. But East Carter still looked like East Carter, with senior Anthony Manzoni – whom Price good-naturedly called “the fuzzy-headed guy,” an allusion to Manzoni’s long, wavy hair – and company disrupting the Lions’ possession game.
Boyd County therefore opened up an attacking mentality, Price said, but first-year Raiders goaltender Breck Sargent made sensational saves after another.
Sargent kicked a Chaffin corner out of danger in the 53rd minute, slapped Maverick Boyd’s shot on a free kick just over the crossbar in the 57th minute, kicked a ball to himself and the tidied up in the 63rd and made two more saves in the 74th and 78th minutes.
“Breck showed up,” East Carter coach Quinn Huddle said. “I could see him on the bus. He was ready to go and he was locked up all night. That’s what good players do and he’s a good player. He did it for us.
“It’s unfortunate that a good performance can be overshadowed by a loss, but it’s something we’re going to build on, and we’re going to keep coming.”
Lions too. Their relentless pressure strategy worked when Terrill broke away in the 89th minute and set up Chaffin’s match winner.
“You never know what can happen,” Price said. “It was time for the ball to bounce back for Boyd County for once.”
Huddle noted a similar phenomenon on his opposite side.
“We had a few players who thought they could do it, and (Chaffin) got there first,” said Huddle. “It’s just part of the game. Over the years… we’ve had breaks, last minute goals. It’s sport. We have to keep our heads up.
“It’s never fun to end your season, but I say with confidence that they gave everything they had and I don’t think we could have asked for anything more.”
Going into Monday’s game, counting all 18 games over the past nine years, the streak was as even as it gets – six wins for each team and six draws.
Boyd County meet Rowan County, which sent Ashland 6-2 later Monday night, in the regional tournament final on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
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