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Martin's goal gives Blazers victory over Leopards

November 01, 2006|by TRAVIS KING / Staff Correspondent

CLEAR SPRING - For Clear Spring's boys soccer team to reach its season-long goal - the Blazers' first playoff win in three years - against a team as evenly matched as Smithsburg, someone had to step up and make a play when it mattered the most.

Lucky for Clear Spring, junior midfielder Jarret Martin made the biggest play of the season.

Martin's goal in the 63rd minute proved to be the only score of the game and Andrew Beadle's excellent goalkeeping proved enough to give the second-seeded Blazers a 1-0 home victory over 10th-seed Smithsburg in the Maryland Class 1A West quarterfinals.

"This was our goal last season and the players reset it for this year, so it's feels really good to win," said Clear Spring coach Greg Hoff. "Both teams were evenly matched and equally talented, so in a game like that, it takes someone special to come through."

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Each team pulled out a close victory over the other during the season - Smithsburg (8-9) won in a shootout in the Washington County Tournament, while the Blazers (11-4) pulled off a 3-2 win a month later.

For the first 40 minutes, the rubber match seemed to resemble the other two meetings.

The teams battled to a scoreless tie at halftime. Each team had several close calls early on, including a Smithsburg shot that clanged off the crossbar and a missed shot at an empty net for Clear Spring.

"All 11 of their players played every minute, and that made the difference," Smithsburg coach Paul Newman said. "They played when it counted."

"We haven't played in a week, so we came out a little flat," said Hoff. "Still, we didn't expect Smithsburg to come out as fast as they did since they just played a big game last night."

As evenly matched as the teams were, it all came down to Martin's goal. Sophomore Sam Myers' crossing pass was one-touched by Martin past Leopards keeper Jake Staebler and sent the home crowd into a frenzy.

"It's unbelievable. It could not have come at a better time," said Martin. "We played a heck of a game. All the close calls that happened to us actually made us play harder. It was a big morale booster."

"We haven't had many breaks this year. A keeper on a different day might have made that save," said Newman.

Beadle continued his great goalkeeping against Smithsburg, recording 10 saves for Clear Spring, while Staebler had five for the Leopards. Each team took 10 shots.

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