HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Hollidaysburg Golden Tigers are back in the District 6 Class AAA soccer championship game again.
The Tigers scored three second-half goals Thursday en route to a 4-1 win over Central Mountain at Tiger Stadium and will face State College for the title next Wednesday at Bald Eagle Area.
State, which beat Altoona in the other semifinal Thursday, will be looking to avenge a 3-2 double-overtime loss to Hollidaysburg in last year's finale.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Hollidaysburg’s Brandon Soellner (21) heads the ball.
"I think Central Mountain gave us a better game than some of my guys expected," Hollidaysburg coach Craig Shale said.
"They played well," Shale noted. "We knew they'd come out and pressure the ball, and they were passing the ball around well. It was touch and go for a little bit."
Hollidaysburg senior midfielder Kenny Eger opened the scoring on a rebound shot at 13:18 of the first half.
"It was all Kenny," Shale said of Eger's unassisted goal.
"It was like street ball," Eger said of his score. "I got a cross-in from the sideline, from Javier Cantos. I took one touch, saw the post and shot it. The goalie fumbled it, it came back to me, and I put it in."
It stayed 1-0 until only 27 seconds remained when Central Mountain freshman Thomas Eaton sailed one into the back of the net.
"That was great," CM coach Abe Stauffer said. "You always like to get a goal late and get some momentum for the second half.
"Actually, we had a couple near-misses in the first half or it might have been 2-1 at the half."
With the game less than four minutes old, CM's Philip Brinker missed from about 10 yards out and, with 16 minutes left, Micah Bowers hit the top of the cross bar.
"They got one at the end of the half and it gave them some momentum," Shale said, "but we came out and played well the second half.
"We tried to take the game to them and it worked a lot better the second half. We had the wind behind us, too."
"I thought we also played well the second half," Stauffer said, "and I don't think the score is indicative of the game. They just hit some lasers."
Nate DeProspo broke the deadlock at 32:20, "a screamer," Shale described it. Later, Zach Franks took a crossing pass from Todd Surkovich and buried it for a 3-1 advantage. Freshman Eric Miller capped the scoring with 3:30 to play.
"It's pretty exciting to go to the finals again," Eger said. "Our team should play well, but it's always a good game with State College."
SCORE BY HALVES
Central Mountain 1 0 - 1
Hollidaysburg 1 3 - 4
First Half: H - Eger, (unassisted), 13:18; CM - Eaton (unassisted), 0:27.
Second Half: H - DeProspo (unassisted), 32:20; H - Franks (Surkovich), 17:17; H - E. Miller (unassisted), 3:30.
Records: Central Mountain (12-6-1); Hollidaysburg (14-5).