Making its first state final appearance, the Watterson High School boys soccer team lost to Richfield Revere 2-0 in the Division II state final on Nov. 9 at Crew Stadium.
The Minutemen, who outscored their opponents 101-11 overall this season, improved to 21-0-2 and captured their first state title in their fourth state final appearance.
The Eagles, who lost to Dayton Carroll 4-1 in a semifinal in their only other state tournament appearance in 2010, finished 18-5.
“Losing this game never feels good, but to put this in perspective, this was our first state final, and playing here in Crew Stadium is something new that none of us will ever forget,” Watterson coach Chad Smith said.
The Minutemen jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 3 minutes, 38 seconds into the game on a goal by forward Daniel Branch.
Defender Brandon Taylor punted the ball into the box from midfield and Branch outraced Watterson defender Michael Harper to the ball and beat goalkeeper Trevor Funk with a low shot just inside the left post.
“Brandon’s a returning all-American and the Division II state Player of the Year, and he fed the ball to Daniel beautifully,” Revere coach Sandor Jakab said.
Funk kept the Eagles in the game by making a save on a redirected shot with 31:12 left in the first half and stopping a blistering shot from forward Blake Easterling about nine minutes later.
But with 8:34 left in the first half, midfielder Nolan Dyko collected the ball in front of the net and ripped a shot that beat Funk inside the near post to make it 2-0.
The Eagles had a handful of shots in the first half but didn’t put any on goal.
Revere goalkeeper Joel Gerberich didn’t need to make a save until he stopped a shot by forward Tommy Geraghty that deflected off a Revere defender with 21:20 remaining.
“They were without question the team that held us out of their end the most and we had trouble getting any momentum started,” Smith said.