Freeman, Sabers score regional title
CHAMPAIGN — St. Thomas More outlasted St. Joseph-Ogden 1-0 in a Class 1A regional title game Friday.
All-state midfielder Dennis Freeman scored the game’s only goal.
“We’ve been through a lot this year,” St. Thomas More coach James Johnson said. “We have a kid that had 27 goals in our first 13 games go down. They’ve been playing for him.”
Kyler Jones, sidelined with a fractured tibia, watched his teammates play themselves right into the sectionals.
St. Joseph-Ogden started aggressively and appeared to get on the board early with a goal by Nick Kneer. The goal was negated after it was ruled Kneer ran into the keeper.
The Sabers followed suit minutes later after an offside penalty took their score off the board.
It wasn’t until late in the first half that St. Thomas More was able to break through.
A Daniel Shin injury caused a stoppage in play. In almost scripted fashion, Freeman was able to sneak a goal over the right shoulder of St. Joseph-Ogden’s Elliot Idleman just seconds after Shin was helped off the field.
“I told him I was going to do it for him all season long,” Freeman said. “I love my seniors and I’m going to miss them so I just had to do it.”
It would prove to be the difference.
St. Thomas More awaits the winner of today’s Hoopeston Area-Watseka match.
“We can win any way we want,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t have to be pretty. In the playoffs its win or go home.”
Salt Fork/Westville 2, B-H 1. Goals by Jordan Romo and Noah Darr helped Salt Fork/Westville rally for a 1A regional title. Blake Reifsteck put the Blue Devils ahead 1-0 in the second half before Darr’s winner Aaron Marx made 13 saves for SF/W.
Monticello 1, Blue Ridge 0. The Sages outlasted the top-seeded Knights on penalty kicks to win a 1A regional title. Monticello goalie Ryan Schaub came up with a key save in the shootout while Luke Hanselman, Matt Blaser, Michael Clark, Schaub and Joey Tombs all converted their penalty kicks for Monticello. Blue Ridge goalie Blayne Ziegler made 25 saves.
M-S 1, Centennial 0. Andrew Johnson’s successful penalty kick gave the Bulldogs the win after the 2A regional quarterfinal match went to penalty kicks. AJ Ellis recorded the shutout for M-S.