STEUBENVILLE - It was the start Steubenville boys soccer coach Greg Bowers envisioned.
"That was the game plan all along," Bowers said. "Dominic (DiCarlo) and Tyler (Clevenger) were going to mark up on (DeShawn) Parker and (Chase) Hilliard and we were going to try to beat their defense over the top.
"Phil (Stoutz) found Jorge (Dominguez) right over the top and Jorge beat the goalie and had an excellent finish."
AFTER THE BALL — Steubenville Big Red’s Philip Stoutz and Beaver Local’s DeShawn Parker chase after the ball during the second half of the Beavers’ 2-1 victory at Harding Stadium.
-- Mike Mathison
This came before some people had finished wrapping themselves in their blankets as Big Red took a 1-0 lead over Beaver Local Tuesday night at Harding Stadium in an Ohio Division II sectional co-final.
The Beavers bounced back with goals from Justin McCoy and a rifle of a direct kick from Parker within a few minutes of each other and that 2-1 lead held until the final horn.
"What a great game," said Beaver Local coach Mike Hilliard, whose team will take on Minerva at 2 p.m. Saturday on the same turf for the district championship. The Lions defeated St. Clairsville 4-1 in the other co-final.
"We didn't match Big Red's intensity early. I had faith in the kids that we were going to come back from it, but we definitely didn't match the intensity they had coming out of the gates.
"You don't want to be behind but, yes, it was a wake-up call for us. It took us a while, but we did respond."
McCoy's goal came with a scramble in front of Big Red goalie John-Paul Duff. Parker's was a blistering shot to the lower right corner off a direct kick at about the 25.
"Part of the game plan was to not allow DeShawn to shoot," said Bowers. "He's a great player - a great talent. Hat's off to Dominic for his effort in slowing him down."
Parker blitzed Big Red for three goals the last time the teams met, a 6-4 Beaver Local win on Oct. 3.
"We had to sacrifice Dominic out of the midfield and put him on defense on DeShawn," said Bowers. "He shredded our flat-back a couple of weeks ago and there was no sense of doing the same thing in this game.
"Our kids ran the game plan and gave us a chance all the way to the end.
"Taking two of our midfielders out and putting them in the back, we had to have some young guys step up and play. We had some guys who play in the back step up and play roles they hadn't played all season.
"From top to bottom, they all played their roles to the best of their ability and they all did an excellent job."
There were a few scrums, per se, in front of Beaver Local goalie Logan Andrews, who finished with 11 saves.
"You can't say enough about their goalie or our goalie," said coach Hilliard. "I was really impressed with the way my goalie stepped up and the way our defense played tonight. Their goalie was tremendous and our goalie made some brilliant saves.
"We had to keep pushing forward (with a 2-1 lead). We couldn't sit back and just play defense. Our boys did a heck of a job and Steubenville did a heck of a job. It's two years in a row it's come down to the wire with Big Red. Last year it took overtime. Thankfully, this year, we got it in regulation.
"They know which two kids to mark-up on our team and we know who their offensive threats are."
"We know each other," he said. "He (Andrews) made some saves and that's what it takes to win a game like this. Congrats to Beaver Local and the best of luck to them. They got the timely goals and timely saves tonight and that's why they're on top."
Bowers and Big Red say goodbye to seven seniors - Duff, DiCarlo, Bryan Brown, Tanner Westlake, Charles Massie, Michael Rosaschi and Blake Mullen.
"We want to say thank you to the seniors," said Bowers. "More than good soccer players, they are great kids. In my years here, that's been the best part about it - dealing with great kids and their families and the support they get.
"Best of luck to them and we know they'll make us proud."