Sometimes, it’s best to let the pictures tell the story.
Our Ed Thompson was at the Thomas Jefferson-Blackhawk WPIAL boys 3A soccer first round overtime thriller in Chippawa Township, in Beaver County on Monday night.
It was a rematch of a 2016 match when Thomas Jefferson beat Blackhawk in the first-round.
Throughout the first half of this Class 3A match-up both teams traded shots and created opportunities, but neither team blinked as the match remained scoreless at the half.
It was a hard-fought affair, with plenty of physical play.
ED THOMPSON GALLERY – TJ vs Blackhawk
Early in the second half, Thomas Jefferson senior captain, AJ Meshanko, came through with a spectacular goal to give the Jaguars the lead in the 47th minute.
AJ MESHANKO’s GOAL
Thomas Jefferson held on to the lead.
But a 1-0 lead in playoff soccer is never safe.
Playing out of desperation, with its season on the line and hoping not to fall to Thomas Jefferson in the playoffs for the second time in three years, Blackhawk battled back fiercely trying to find the equalizer — sending numerous shots on Jack Wessel.
Blackhawk found magic in the dying moments of regulation.
Ethan Bouril broke away from his defender down the right sideline and drilled a shot from just outside the six-yard box to save the Cougars season for the moment and send the game into overtime.
Then came a tense battle in overtime.
With 45 seconds left in the first overtime, Thomas Jefferson capitalized on a throw-in deep in Blackhawk’s half.
The throw came from Justin Finnegan.
It was long and accurate enough to find Preston Lutz inside the box. TJ’s leading scorer was able to place a header just past the outstretched arms of Blackhawk’s senior goalkeeper Ethan Burawa to seal the victory.
PRESTON LUTZ’s GAME WINNING GOAL
Blackhawk finished the season with a record of 12-3-2.
“This one is gonna hurt for them for a little and it’s going hurt for us (coaches),” Blackhawk head coach Jerrod Rebich told Beaver County Times after the loss. “This is an extraordinary group of young men, and you just don’t want your season to end with this group, this was a special group.”
Thomas Jefferson moves on to face Ringgold in the WPIAL Boys 3A quarterfinals on Thursday.