Beckley – For the first time since 2018 there will be a new Class A/AA soccer champion.
Charleston Catholic’s Eli Coleman scored in the 78th minute, giving the Irish a 2-1 advantage that held as they beat two-time defending Class AA/A champion Fairmont Senior in a rematch of last year’s title game.
Despite trailing 1-0 at the break the Irish powered through, scoring on an own goal in the 62nd minute to knot the game, taking advantage of the chaos in the box.
“On set pieces we try to get runs into certain areas and create some chaos in the box,” Catholic head coach Joe Johns said. “At the end of the day at any level if you create chaos in or around the goal good things can happen for you. Bad things can happen for you if you’re on the defensive end so defensively we’re managing those and offensively trying to take advantage of those situations.”
The game started well for the Polar Bears with Bubby Towns scoring in the game’s first 10 minutes, but after that the action settled down. The Polar Bears had opportunities to add to their lead early in the first half with Catholic keeper John Patnoe briefly exiting the game to receive treatment for an injury but the Irish held the ground.
“I thought in the beginning we were a bit nervy,” Johns said. “I thought our nerves got to us a little bit. we were a bit unsettled. We were overanxious which allowed (Towns) to pick up the ball in some dangerous areas. He scored an absolute, I mean unreal goal and we gave him the ball there and allowed him to have the space and that’s what he can do to you. After that I thought we were able to press him a little more. His looks weren’t as clean and our goalkeepers came up with some really good saves.”
Catholic advances to Saturday’s Class A/AA title game where it will play Point Pleasant.