JOHNSTOWN - Philipsburg-Osceola had a long bus ride for Tuesday night's game against Forest Hills in the District 6 Class AA boys soccer playoffs.
The Mounties saw the Rangers have the better of the chances early, but woke up late in the first half behind Austin Krise to take a 2-0 lead.
Krise scored the opening goal, and created an opportunity in the Rangers box that led to a penalty kick for their second goal. Forest Hills scored midway through the second half, but could get no closer. The Mounties advanced with a 2-1 victory.
"When you play a diamond, your center back has to be very hard to manage," Philipsburg-Osceola coach Shawn Inlow said. "We don't have a center back like that.?We play a 4-4-2. Our sophomore striker, Austin Krise, scored the first goal, and caused the second goal. He got the edge on their guy and was brought down in the box for the penalty kick. Austin had that matchup won on their center back."
Both teams had opportunities in the first half, but went about them differently. The Rangers used a sustained passing attack to set up chances, but were not able to score. The Mounties sent their players on long runs. They had some chances to score, but could not find the back of the net either.
As time ticked away in the half, though, Philipsburg-Osceola started to take control of the game. At the 16:28 mark, Caleb Shively passed across the front of the goal to Krise. Krise had the opportunity for a goal, but his kick went wide into the side of the net.
Five minutes later, Krise took a pass along the side line and tried to work his way into the goal, but a Forest Hills defender bodied him away, and Krise lost the ball over the goal line.
When Krise had a third opportunity, he did not miss. Hunter Honan tossed a long throw in that Krise ran after. He beat a Rangers defender to the ball, came in on the Forest Hills keeper, and shot the ball in the far side of the net for a 1-0 lead with 11:55 left in the half.
"We have two or three guys on the team who have long throws," Inlow said. "They have bullets, they don't have high arc. They are quick, and they can surprise defenders. The idea is, if you can get the throw in quick enough, the center back does not have a chance to move or react, it is past him and it is too late. That is what happened. Austin got the inside on him, and that was it. Hunter threw the ball into the gap, and Austin beat the guy to the ball."
Less than 3 minutes later, the Mounties added to their lead. Forest Hills was called for a penalty in the box when Krise was pulled down, leading to a penalty kick. Wyatt Inlow converted it for a 2-0.
The Mounties missed a chance to add to their lead with 6:29 left in the half. A throw-in led to a shot on goal. However, the ball went off the crossbar, and the Rangers keeper was able to make a save before any Mounties player could get a foot on it.
Philipsburg-Osceola played a defensive game coming out for the second half. The Rangers slowly gathered momentum, and got on the board with 20:46 left in the game. Tyler Mangus found Ryan Nadonley open in front of the Mounties net.
He dribbled around a defender, then kicked the ball into the net to set the final at 2-1.
"He is a great little player," said Inlow of Nadonley. "I think he is a Division 1 player. He is so crazy talented."
The goal gave the Rangers a shot of momentum. They pushed the attack for the next 10 minutes, but the defense was able to hold off the late charge for the win.
The Mounties play Thursday's Bellefonte-Huntingdon winner next Tuesday in the semifinals.
SCORE BY HALVES
Philipsburg-Osceola 2 0 - 2
Forest Hills 0 1 - 1
First Half: PO-A. Krise (unassisted), 11:55; PO-Inlow (penalty kick), 9:11.
Second Half: FH-Nadonley (Mangus), 20:46.