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Caden Rogers lifts Big Reds past Vikings in 2OTs

Photo by Josh Hughes Parkersburg’s Caden Rogers (4) possesses the ball as Ripley’s Jacob Banton (18) defends during a high school boys sectional soccer match Monday at Stadium Field. PHS won, 2-1, in double-overtime.

RIPLEY — Caden Rogers saw his opportunity and made the most of it. A free kick from the PHS striker in double-overtime lifted the visiting Big Reds over the Ripley Vikings, 2-1 in a Region IV Section II Semifinal on Tuesday.

A defensive battle took place in Ripley, as goals were hard to come by. That’s why the clinching free kick from the 20-yard line held so much weight. Rogers wasn’t so sure about the kick when it left his foot, but the ball’s arc proved to be just tall enough to be out of the reach of Ripley’s Nic Hill. Rogers talked about the game-winner just moments after it happened.

“That was crazy. (The possibility of going into a shootout) crossed my mind, but I had confidence,” Rogers said of the moments leading up to his kick. “I figured I was going for the kick. I was excited, but I though it was going over, and it went in.”

Rogers also said his team is up for the challenge of Hurricane in the sectional title match, as they travel to take on the Redskins on Wednesday. About the upcoming match and how this one was won, head coach Billy Shedd was proud of how his team fought.

“We have a couple different set plays and setups for that. I don’t blame (Rogers) for shooting it,” Shedd joked.

“We’ve got a good team, and we might surprise some people. We played Hurricane earlier in the year and lost to them, 1-0. They’re a good team, and we’ll have to be on our top notch to hang with those guys. It’s hard to find time for all of our guys. We’ve got so many good guys and young guys that want to play. That’s what’s great about all this.”

While Parkersburg (7-8-3) is moving on, Ripley’s (3-6-3) season ended with the loss. The goal scored by Wyatt White in the 18th minute gave the Vikings the early advantage, as White fired a shot headed for PHS’s Caleb Thomas. Thomas couldn’t corral the ball in the slippery conditions, and it bounced off his hands to the back of the net. Other missed chances saw the Vikings have multiple goals disallowed due to offsides calls in both halves.

The duel of Thomas and Hill reached a crescendo when Tristan Brogan found Tanner Marlow on a cross right in front of the net to barely beat an outstretched Hill in the 71st. In the same minute, an RHS goal was wiped off the board because of another offsides call. The match remained tied throughout the rest of regulation and the first overtime, as Thomas (six saves) and Hill (12 saves) continued to lock down.

Like PHS’s Shedd, Ripley head coach Victor Boyce was in his first year, and through the ups and downs of the year is confident his squad will bounce back from this heartbreaking defeat.

“I was just proud of them. I was extremely proud of the boys,” Boyce said. “I don’t feel like they gave up. They kept giving us everything they had. We’ve had a small team this year. We had 16 kids. I thought they all worked really hard, and going into the double overtime takes its toll. I just feel like we should have won that one.”

When PHS’s Thomas allowed the first goal of the night, he was determined to make up for it. He did that by telling himself that no more goals would be scored on his behalf. The senior kept his promise.

“It feels like it finally paid off. We were down early, so being able to rally was great,” Thomas said. “I just can’t let (Ripley) get to me or how I play. After that first one, it was ‘no more in, 100 percent.'”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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