Sixth-seeded Mounties top Golden Eagles
HOLLIDAYSBURG – The Philipsburg-Osceola High School boys’ soccer team didn’t get to go trick or treating, but their Halloween night reward was better than any bag of goodies.
The Mounties capped a surprising run through the District 6 Class AA playoffs by beating Tyrone, 2-0, in the championship game Thursday night at rainy Tiger Stadium.
P-O entered the playoffs as just the sixth seed but knocked off No. 2 Bellefonte, 2-1, in the semifinals before upending top seed Tyrone for its second 6-AA title in a row.
“It’s nice. We weren’t supposed to be here,” P-O coach Shawn Inlow said. “We won it last year and graduated most of those guys.
“We started playing right about the middle of the season,” Inlow said, noting the Mounties’ win Thursday improved their record to a deceiving 10-8-1. “It took us awhile before everything started clicking.”
P-O’s first goal Thursday was scored by senior Caleb Shively, who settled Hunter Honan’s corner kick before blasting it into the right corner of the net with only 2:11 left in the first half.
“That was his first goal,” Inlow said. “He came out this season as a senior for the first time, although he had played as a youngster.”
“The ball kept getting through on previous corner kicks,” Shively noted, “and I just kept doing the same thing. Finally, it bounced right, I put it down, turned around and kicked it.”
Shively was equally as thrilled to be part of the championship team.
“It’s awesome because this is almost a completely different team,” Shively said. “I wasn’t on the team and a lot of our starters didn’t get much time last year, either.
“It was pretty cool to do this without bringing a lot of people back.”
Tyrone coach Nick Miller was disappointed, but praised his Golden Eagles.
“That’s a tough way to end a great season,” Miller said. “We beat these guys two times in the regular season.
“We didn’t give up tonight, we just didn’t finish.”
The Eagles had some good scoring opportunities but couldn’t put the ball in the Philipsburg net. Early in the second half, trailing 1-0, a shot by Mountain League MVP Alex Bartlett hit the top of the crossbar. The Eagles put on a good rush with about 30 minutes to play, but came up empty there, too. Then, a couple minutes later, Tyrone’s Noah D’Angelo collided with P-O keeper Mitchell Winters, who was able to turn the shot aside.
“That’s been our problem,” Miller said. “We’re one of the best possession teams in the Mountain League, but we just can’t finish. We were a much-better finishing team this season, but they got the best of us tonight.
“You’ve got to hand it to Philipsburg for having the composure they had.”
After Austin Krise’s header, off a Honan throw-in, gave the Mounties a 2-0 lead with 32:56 to play, P-O went into a prevent defense, dropping most of their players back to defend their goal.
“He’s our best header,” Inlow said of the big sophomore’s goal. “He’s tall [6-foot-1] and can jump.
“Then we dropped all 11 guys back on defense,” Inlow said. “We were going to bunker in. We took one of our strikers and we kept rotating fresh legs on [Bartlett] all night because he can hurt you.”
“They’re a defensive team anyway,” Miller noted. “It’s hard to punch one through when they have that many people back.”
SCORE BY HALVES
Philipsburg-Osceola1 1 – 2
Tyrone 0 0 – 0
First Half: P-O-Shively (Honan), 2:11 left.
Second Half: P-O-A. Krise (Honan), 32:56 left.
Records: Philipsburg-Osceola (10-8-1); Tyrone (14-5-1).