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Boonsboro advances to state final

November 09, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

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Boonsboro's boys soccer team punctuated its first-ever Maryland Class 1A state semifinal game with 12 minutes of the best offense the Warriors have ever unleashed, and it left a storied Sparrows Point program gasping.

Keith Welch headed in a pair of goals and Shane Lowery scored once and set up Micaiah Jessie's score moments later as Boonsboro took a 4-0 lead 29 minutes in and raced into the Class 1A state final with a stunning 4-1 victory over the Pointers at North Hagerstown's Mike Callas Stadium.

"That's the best game we've played against such a high-profile team," said Warriors coach Brad Delauter of the Pointers (10-5), who have been to the state semifinals nine times and won four titles.

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Sparrows Point's last title was a share of the 2006 1A crown with Pocomoke, which will be Boonsboro's opponent in the state championship match at University of Maryland-Baltimore County next week at a date and time to be determined.

After both teams played a conservative first 15 minutes, spaces started to open up and Boonsboro (15-4) took advantage.

In the 18th minute, Ryan Barrett's corner kick from the right corner took a bounce and caromed high to Welch, who headed the ball past Pointers goalie Garrett Heilman for the lead.

Before the Boonsboro fans had settled down from that goal, the Warriors gave them something else to cheer about. In the 20th minute, Welch fed a ball to Barrett, who played a perfect through ball to Lowery as he broke through the left side of the Pointers' back line. Lowery chipped the ball past Heilman for a 2-0 lead.

"Usually, we score a goal and everybody gets pumped and we score more," Lowery said. "It's always the first goal that's the spark for us."

"When we got our first goal, we realized what we could do," Delauter said. "All we needed to do was feed the ball to Micaiah or Shane, and (Sparrows Point) couldn't stay with our passing game or our speed up top."

The Warriors were far from done. In the 22nd minute, Lowery -- feeling good after his goal -- took on two Sparrows Point defenders 1-on-1 and beat them both with some fancy footwork before finding Jessie wide open for an easy score.

Finally, in the 29th minute, Barrett's long throw-in from the left was flicked on by Lowery right to Welch, who headed it in to cap a stunning 12 minutes of flawless offensive execution.

"I felt I was in the right position at the right time," Welch said. "I got my body in position and got to the ball."

"That's the best stretch we've ever had," Lowery said. "Everything clicked."

"I can't say enough about our first half," Delauter said. "We wanted two goals, and to get four, that's amazing. That's a non-typical score for a playoff game."

Sparrows Point got on the scoreboard in the 36th minute when Boonsboro failed to clear a loose ball in its end. The ball went to Seth Hewitt, and he made no mistake ripping a shot into the top right side.

The Pointers controlled most of the second half as the Warriors sat on their lead. Sparrows Point had three golden chances to make it 4-2 in the first five minutes of the half, but one hit the crossbar and the other two were cleared in the goal mouth.

The Pointers took 15 shots in the final 40 minutes but had nothing to show for it.

"Our strategy was a different strategy for the second half," Delauter said. "We were just trying to contain them. We had what we wanted on the board, we just had to protect what we had."

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