Clutch win for Big Reds
WHEELING- Two months ago to the day, when Parkersburg and Wheeling Park met on Wheeling Island to start the season, it was under much different circumstance.
Balmy weather greeted the teams in that opener, and nothing was decided, as the Big Reds and Patriots played to a 1-1 draw.
On Thursday night, with conditions bordering on freezing, and a Class AAA, Region I, Section 1 title on the line, different circumstances rendered different results.
Parkersburg’s Tommy Logston tallied the first two goals as the Big Red rolled to a 4-0 victory.
“I remember that day, I made a note in my (scorer’s) book, ‘hot, hot, hot,'” Parkersburg coach Don Fosselman said. “Tonight, it was a little different. I’m so proud of my kids, because (Wheeling Park coach) Mario (Julian) and his team came out and had us on our heels early. We weren’t into it early.”
Several times, Fosselman implored his team to wake up.
Logston sounded the wake up call when he spun around and delivered a shot from about 30 yards out that kept bending to just elude the outstretched arms of Wheeling Park goalkeeper Ryan Seidewitz for a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute.
“That was a perfect shot,” Julian said. “Anytime you give up a goal you automatically get defensive, not wanting to give up another goal after that. When we had to open it up in the second half, they have good speed and good shooters and they were able to exploit us.”
Logston’s second goal, which also came from an Evan Rhodes assist, gave PHS a 2-0 cushion in the 57th minute. Rhodes scored from a Tyler Bro assist in the 68th minute and Bro’s tally in the 78th minute via an Immanuel Opoku-Duah assist capped the scoring.
The turning point in the game actually came early in the second half, when Park looked to have an opportunity to tie the score but Parkersburg cleared the golden opportunity and Logston moments later tallied his second goal of the match.
“That was a huge swing right there,” Julian said. “Turning point of the game. When they cleared that ball from the end line, and we come away without a goal, it was huge. They scored right after that and we were fighting an uphill battle.”
It was a battle Park would not win. The Patriots attempted six shots and had five corner kicks as well.
Parkersburg goalkeeper Reid Strobl was inpenatrable in the net, with six saves, including a diving stop with 1:30 remaining to keep the shutout intact.
“Tommy played a great game tonight,” Fosselman said. “I also thought our big guy up front (Rhodes) played a great game. That was a big difference for us.”
The Big Reds (17-1-3) attempted nine shots and had five corner kicks, all in the first half.
Seidewitz had six saves in goal for Wheeling Park.
The Patriots finished the season at 14-5-2 and will lose 11 seniors, and eight starters, to graduation.
“They were the better team tonight,” Julian said. “They deserved to win the game. I hope they go far into the playoffs and represent the section well.”