PIAA Boys 3A Semifinal
West Allegheny 2, Franklin Regional 1 (Final)
The West Allegheny boys soccer program is finally heading back to Hershey after beating WPIAL foe Franklin Regional, 2-1, in the PIAA Class 3A boys semifinal played at Fox Chapel on Tuesday.
Junior forward Fletcher Amos scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner late in the second half to hand Franklin Regional its first loss of the season, and provide West Allegheny with a bit of payback after previously losing to Franklin Regional in the WPIAL Final on November 1.
West Allegheny advances to the PIAA Boys 3A Soccer Championship game where they will play Strath Haven (16-6-2), the District 1 champion, in the title game at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium.
ED THOMPSON’S PHOTO GALLERY
Flecher Amos’ Game Winning Goal late in the second half
HOW IT HAPPENED
Playing without its starting goalkeeper Braden Wurst, who suffered an injury in Saturday’s quarterfinal win against Hershey, West Allegheny were focused on taking care of business on the other side of the field.
West Allegheny did exactly that, scoring twice against a Franklin Regional side that has shut them out in the WPIAL final, and most every other team they faced this season.
How good had Franklin’s defending been this season?
In 21 games, the Panthers hadn’t allowed two goals in a game all season, six total — and hadn’t trailed at any point.
Using its talented midfield, led by senior Nate Dragisich, West Allegheny knew they would have to make the most of their opportunities — and bring high pressure into the final third, making things uncomfortable for Franklin Regional’s back line and goalkeeper Jeremy Lucas.
On Tuesday, the Indians looked to its top man, Amos, who came through to break a scoreless tie early in the second half — beating Lucas.
For good measure, Amos celebrated with back flip.
ED THOMPSON PHOTO GALLERY
Amos’ first goal
It was a senior Gabe Haines with no previous goalkeeping experience, who held down the fort for the Indians, who out-possessed the Panthers, keeping Haines from being tested until the 57th minute.
That’s when the Panthers got the equalizer.
It came on a set piece, when Franklin Regional’s Connor Hudson’s header beat Haines on the other end of a free kick to tie the match at 1-1.
West Allegheny never stopped attacking — and in the late stages (76th minute) — Amos found himself on the end of a cross from Dragisich.
Amos delivered the clinical finish, and it was enough to lift the Indians to the second-ever appearance in PIAA Final in school history.
In 2013, they lost in overtime to Holy Ghost.
This year’s group would like to finish the job this time.
After solving Franklin Regional, they’re going to certainly be up for that final challenge.
THEY SAID IT
Despite the loss, Franklin Regional had its finest season in school history, finishing 21-1-1, with 16 shutouts and just seven goals allowed.
“I told them, we just laid down the best season in Franklin Regional history,” coach Hudson said. “You should all be proud.”
PLAYERS OF THE MATCH – FLETCHER AMOS & GABE HAINES
Our Men of the Match, @GabeHaines and Fletcher Amos! Gabe was tremendous filling in for a injured @BradenWurst. Fletcher puts 2 goals in to give @WestABoysSoccer a 2-1 win over previously unbeaten Franklin Regional. HEADED TO HERSHEY!!! pic.twitter.com/e8vYquGZF9
— West A Boys Soccer (@WestABoysSoccer) November 14, 2018