College school ends excellent season for Twinsburg men’s football
Scoring opportunities can be hard to come by during the high school football playoffs.
Defense comes to the fore and it especially did so for both defensive teams in the District Championship battle in Cleveland District 3 East Division I at Mentor on Saturday.
Twinsburg, the district’s third seed, and second seed Hunting Valley University School had not allowed a single goal in the extra season before the clash.
A scoreless battle until the 38th minute of the first half, University School used a set piece to produce what would be the only tally of the game in a tough 1-0 decision.
Prepper center-back Sam Holthaus jumped for a header on a free kick to Connor Piero’s right side, and directed it down and after a rebound he went to the back of the net for a score.
Twinsburg had a few chances but couldn’t finish against the Preppers (16-2-2), who had their 11th shutout of the fall and qualified to face Massillon Jackson (13-2-4) in regional semi-final Wednesday in Twinsburg.
“I think both coaches in this game would think whoever scores first would probably win,” said veteran Tigers head coach Mike Lally, who has guided the Twinsburg program to countless final district tests. .
“Both teams are very strong defensively and it was a good game, clean and physical,” said Lally, whose team finished at 13-3-2.
The Preppers’ only losses this year were to Cleveland St. Ignatius and Kiski (Pa.) Prep. The college school has won six district titles since 2012.
“It was a disappointing loss to be sure, but whether it was Jackson, Hudson or University School in the district final – they’re all state-ranked clubs and we felt like we belonged to that conversation. and we did it, ”Lally explained.
“We fought well against University School,” added the mentor.
In the 31st minute, Twinsburg’s Tate Lowery sailed through traffic with a strong run into the box and forced contact from the Preppers to produce a penalty kick attempt.
Uleto Fuentes was called up for the attempt and his shot narrowly missed, hitting the post. The score came on the rebound, which doesn’t count, so while the fans were excited, the score remained at 0-0.
“We had a good attempt with the race and the foul in the box, and it just came out of the post,” offered Lally.
Then University School hit it with the huge header of a reboot.
“They made a really good game that worked on a reboot,” Lally observed.
Lally and his team went into attack mode and added a few forwards, leaving veteran goaltender Connor Mack only with Jacob D’Isidoro, a brave and courageous senior on the back, as well as talented junior Jarren Fuentes.
“We put more attacking into the game and had a few chances, but we just couldn’t finish, but those lonely guys at the back did a great job when we went into attack mode.” , Lally pointed out.
“D’Isidoro and Fuentes did a great job and Connor Mack made some big saves and was great in front of goals,” said Lally.
Tiger’s solid defense foiled two decent looks from the Preppers in the 68th and 69th minutes as Mack made one of his four exceptional saves.
Uleto Fuentes, Travis Smith, Cameron Griffin and Lowry were dangerous. Lowery pulled off a decent shot in the 76th minute as the shot was a bit wide.
Twinsburg won 2-0 over Kent Roosevelt with a pair of first-half goals to set up the district final as Mack secured his 13th shutout!
Lowry and Uleto Fuentes each scored one goal in the win while Fuentes had an assist over Kent (10-5-4) and goalkeeper Ethan Jenkins.
Uleto, one of the most decorated offensive talents on the program, had a cannon shot from around 20 yards with 4:00 p.m. left in the half while Lowry’s tally came at 6:00 a.m. in the clash.
Twinsburg’s senior class also won the Suburban League National Conference championship – the program’s first league crown since 2012.
Other Tigers seniors who will be sorely missed are Connor Carroll, Josh Mikulka, Jack Rosenthal, Sean Banerjee, Rainer Soetanto, Michael Cline, Patrick Shaffer and Matt Aspinall.