St. Francis boys win first district title


Published: Friday, January 30, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 12:38 a.m.

St. Francis earned its first district championship on Friday night. The Wolves defeated the Oak Hall Eagles 2-0 for the District 4-2A title.

Following back-to-back missed scoring opportunities by the Eagles, St. Francis managed to counterattack early in the first half.

An Oak Hall free kick resulted in an Oak Hall corner kick which was punched out of the penalty box. Because nearly all of the the Eagles players had advanced to attack the goal during the corner kick, St. Francis quickly moved the ball to the opposite end of the field.

The Wolves’ Scott Plavac made a stunning pass to Ty Murphy who broke away from two Eagles defenders and avoided the Eagles charging goalkeeper, depositing his shot in the back of the net.

In the second half, Oak Hall (9-4-5) gave up the game-clinching goal by fouling inside the penalty box. Senior Alex Baucom easily scored the penalty kick, securing the victory for the Wolves.

The game marked the second straight year that St. Francis (15-4-3) and Oak Hall have met in the district finals.

“This is a really good rivalry between us and them,” St. Francis coach Scott Fries said. “It was the same final as last year except it was two-nothing them at our place; so it felt good to come and return the favor here (on Oak Hall’s field).”

Throughout the game, Oak Hall struggled to muster any offensive pressure. Because of this and stellar play by St. Francis goalkeeper Johnny Valerio, the Wolves managed to stymie all of Oak Hall’s offensive threats.

Valerio recorded six saves in the shutout.

Both teams advance to the regional playoffs. St. Francis will host a Region 1-2A quarterfinal on Thursday, while Oak Hall will be on the road for the first round.

District 5-3A: Keystone Heights failed to capture its second-straight district title as it fell to Pierson Taylor 2-1 Friday night in the championship match played in Interlachen.

Justin Hannah scored the Indians’ lone goal which provided the final margin with six minutes left to play in the contest. Keystone Heights was also gunning for its fifth district championship in the last six seasons. Taylor took home its first district title since 2007.

Despite the loss, Keystone Heights (10-13-2) advances to the regional playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.

The Indians, regional finalists a year ago, will travel to Mount Dora for Thursday’s Region 2-3A quarterfinal. Taylor, making its 12th regional-playoff appearance in the last 13 years, will host Ocala Trinity Catholic in the first round.

Cliff Olsen contributed to this report.

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