BY MARTY MYERS
Lakeland was hoping to make it to halftime trailing by a goal. Mountain View’s Dan McWhirr and Colby Thomas would have no part of it.
Knocking McWhirr’s corner kick off the near post and into the net with 57 seconds left, Thomas made the first of his three goals a backbreaker as the Eagles soared to the District 2 Class A boys soccer title, blanking previously unbeaten Lakeland, 4-0, Thursday night at Dunmore High School.
Mountain View went on to play Tri-Valley on Tuesday at Dunmore High School. Results were not available at press time.
“I said to my assistant, I just want to get to halftime at 1-0,” Lakeland coach Joe DePasquale said. “The second goal was a killer.
“To be honest with you, my guy just left the near post and it snuck in. It was a mental mistake on our part that cost us the second goal.”
That and great unspoken communication between McWhirr and Thomas. McWhirr’s low kick whistled across the 6-yard line and Thomas stepped to the ball and redirected it for a 2-0 halftime lead.
“We normally go over the top, but this one, the guy was on my back,” Thomas said. “He’d been playing me the whole game, giving me some shoulders, elbows, and he just let me go for a split second. I got the foot across and a lucky bounce off the post was all it needed.
“It was a perfect ball by Dan. I have to give it to him.”
It wasn’t what head coach Roger Thomas was expecting off the corner, but he’ll take the result.
“I sure didn’t call it,” coach Thomas said. “We feed everything high, and for whatever reason, all I can say is credit Colby for reading it. The fact the two kids put it together was phenomenal.”
Joe Jarrow gave the Eagles (9-7-1) the lead 9½ minutes in when he took Julian Williams’ feed, sidestepped a defender and walked in on Lakeland’s keeper. Chris Vojick somehow got his hands on Jarrow’s blistering point-blank shot in self defense, but had no chance of stopping the wet ball as it deflected into the top corner.
“It was a great play by Julian,” Jarrow said. “He gave me the perfect feed through. All I had to do was make a little move and touch it aside and the perfect shot I guess, because it went in.
“When you hit (the ball) like that, it’s the sweetest thing ever. You can’t even feel it.”
It was a game-changing score, especially with Dylan Thomas anchoring a defense that really gave up only one good scoring chance, that on a hard 18-yard shot that goalie Chris Herman fielded cleanly.
“The first goal was definitely important because it set the tone and gave us the momentum,” Jarrow said. “Great work by the whole team.”
Forced to try to press the issue on offense, Lakeland gave up a pair of second-half scores two minutes apart. The first, in the 67th minute, came when Dylan Thomas played a long ball to his younger brother Colby, who took it on the run and hit a low skidding shot from a sharp angle for a 3-0 lead.
“I have to give all the credit to my guys,” Colby Thomas said. “Without them, without my brother, they got the balls through to me. They do all the hard work.”
Another through ball was collected behind the defense by Colby Thomas, who ticketed a shot into the lower left corner for the final tally.
“We stepped to balls, we won balls, we kept it in their end with both skill and power, and eventually our forwards were able to score,” coach Thomas said.
Playing in the high-powered Lackawanna League Division I clearly benefitted the Eagles, too.
“We hoped and felt we were the team that had played more high-caliber ball,” coach Thomas said.
Mountain View was the host school for the first round of the PIAA playoffs, playing Tuesday against Tri-Valley.
A silent calm came over Mountain View’s Greg Adams as he stepped up to take his first career penalty kick Tuesday against Elk Lake.
With seven minutes remaining and the game tied, the stakes could not have been much higher in the District 2 Class AA boys soccer semifinal at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
“At that point, my head is spinning and I really have no thoughts,” Adams said. “I was surprisingly calm.”
Adams blasted his shot into top right corner of the net, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish, advancing to the district championship game.
“I’m automatic in practice, and I knew I was going to put it away,” the Eagles defender said.
Coach Roger Thomas said credit had to be given to Elk Lake. He noted that their midfielders are strong and the team is fast and dominating if the Eagles aren’t careful.
The teams were evenly matched in the scoreless first half, but Elk Lake’s midfield continued to create obstacles for Mountain View. The Warriors managed four shots to Mountain View’s two, and each keeper made a save.
“They just played hard all year,” Elk Lake coach Darren Gargas said. “We played this way, we played as a team. The kids have always worked hard and put it all together.
“There was a battle in the midfield. It was just one of those games where you hate to have one team lose.”
While Elk Lake controlled the play in the first half, Mountain View came out renewed in the second half.
Within the first five minutes, the Eagles earned three corner kicks, but could not capitalize.
However, with 26 minutes elapsed, Colby Thomas opened the scoring for Mountain View on a long ball through a wide open field.
“The guys got me through,” Colby Thomas said. “They gave me the good ball. I had to work a little bit, but hey, I’m a forward, I’ve got to put it home.”
Following Elk Lake’s only corner kick, Thurn Thanormthin’s shot found the back of the net to even the score at 1.
It stayed that way for just about three minutes until Mountain View’s Joe Jarrow was fouled, setting up Adams’ penalty kick.
“I think we came out too confident this game, a little too amped up,” Adams said. “But the second half, that was really Mountain View soccer.”