Big reds tackle unbeaten GW

Big Reds end the Patriots’ 38-match non-loss streak

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg’s Matt Runyon narrowly escaped a ball to the head which was deflected by George Washington’s Chance Anderson during Thursday night’s showdown at Stadium Field. The top-ranked and Class AAA defending state champion Patriots were upended by the host and sixth-ranked Big Reds, 2-1, which snapped a 38-match unbeaten streak for GWHS.

PARKERSBURG — Big Red keeper Jacob McKnight lost his shutout bid following a Solomon Clark penalty kick in the 80th minute here Thursday evening at Stadium Field, but it wasn’t enough for defending Class AAA state champion and top-ranked George Washington as host Parkersburg dealt the Patriots a 2-1 setback and snapped their 38-match unbeaten streak.

Almost a year to the day, PHS trailed 3-0 at George Washington before storming back to tie the match, only to lose in the waning minutes, 4-3.

That was on the minds of all the Big Reds on Thursday.

“All of today we were all saying it was go time and we got it,” said Big Red Murad Hamirani, who nearly gave PHS a 1-0 lead in the second minute but his shot was deflected from danger by GW’s Cole Snyder.

“They are the number one ranked team in the state, but I think the rest of the state knows they can’t sleep on us.”

No. 6 PHS, now 10-1-2 with a noon match set for Saturday at the Erickson All-Sports Facility versus rival Parkersburg South, got on the board in the 39th minute. A corner kick by Isaiah Owen ended up near Anthony Fleshman, who headed it to Hamirani for an easy goal to beat keeper Cohen Burgess.

“It came to me and I just kicked it in,” Hamirani quipped of the goal deep in the box.

George Washington, which last lost in the 2015 state tournament to Morgantown and dropped to 12-1-2, only had allowed four goals all season. That total moved to six in the 53rd minute when Parker Miller used his noggin to beat Burgess off a Matt Runyon throw-in.

“Last year was a really intense game and we kind of got screwed,” Miller recalled. “We really wanted to win (this one). Last year they got a really cheap goal at the very end. We knew what we had to do.”

Miller credited the solid throw from Runyon and a little help from teammate Ian Domenick on his tally.

“Me and Ian, he kind of set a pick almost for me and I just kind of curled in and me and him sandwiched a guy and I was just above him so I could get a head on it and it went in,” Miller added.

The backline defense of the Big Reds, who started Anthony Bradford, Keegan Bush, Kiram Patel and Caden Rogers, got high praise from veteran red and white head coach Don Fosselman.

“It was a great team effort tonight, but you got to pin this victory on the back four,” said the coach. “They bent a little bit, but they didn’t break and they were solid. They did outstanding. It was a really good win for us.”

The Patriots, who return to action on Tuesday at Ripley, picked up the pace of their attack in the second half.

Matthew Vaughn’s through to Noah Shaak in the 72nd minute nearly resulted in a goal, but a hustling McKnight raced out and gobbled up the ball just as it left Shaak’s foot. GW leading scorer Chance Anderson, who entered the fray with 11 goals, was held in check.