Senior Shadrack Boakye of the Beechcroft High School boys soccer team finally got the chance he had been waiting for, and he was ready for it.
After West's 10th attempt during a shootout in the City League championship game Oct. 12 at Mapfre Stadium hit the crossbar, Boakye kicked the ball into the right corner of the net to give the Cougars a 10-9 advantage in a shootout and a 3-2 victory.
"I saw that (West's attempt) hit the post, so I had to score for my team to get a trophy," Boakye said. "All I was thinking about was to score. I wasn't nervous because my mindset was to score. I said, 'I've got this.' I'm really happy."
The Cougars, who won their second consecutive City title, were 8-6-2 overall after tying Jonathan Alder at 1 on Oct. 14.
After winning a Division II district title last season, Beechcroft is seeded eighth of 27 teams in the district tournament and opens Saturday, Oct. 21, at home against 12th-seeded Jonathan Alder or 13th-seeded Heath in a second-round game.
The winner plays sixth-seeded Watterson, 10th-seeded Independence, 17th-seeded Hartley or 22nd-seeded Eastmoor Academy in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the home of the higher seed. The district final is Oct. 28.
Beechcroft trailed West 2-1 but tied the score with 12 minutes remaining on a header by senior forward Ahmed Al-Saidi off a pass from junior forward Biniam Tekae.
The Cougars' first goal was scored by senior midfielder Jeremiah Kusi.
"When it gets to (a shootout), all the muscle memory takes over after years and years of repetition," coach Derek Hones said. "It's pretty cool. We (beat West 6-2 last year in the City final), so I knew they had some fast players up top. I think we lucked out a little bit."
Scots, Devils ready for City-South clash
The Walnut Ridge and Marion-Franklin football teams will meet Friday, Oct. 20, in a matchup that pits the City League-South Division's best defense against its top offense.
The Scots, who are 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the league after their game against South on Oct. 13 was canceled because of an incident at the school, shut out Beechcroft 6-0 on Sept. 8 and are allowing just 13.5 points per game.
The Red Devils are 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the league after losing to Independence 28-20 on Oct. 13 and are averaging 38.9 points.
Last season, Walnut Ridge beat Marion-Franklin 20-6 for its second consecutive win in the series.
Through seven games this year, senior Jajuan Johnson (55 tackles, 4 tackles for loss) and Julius Wood (66 tackles, 8 tackles for loss) were leading the Scots' defense. Junior running back Sincere Staples had rushed for 626 yards and five touchdowns and junior quarterback Isaiah Murphy was 55-for-100 passing for 796 yards and nine touchdown and had rushed for 225 yards and six scores.
For the Red Devils through seven games, junior quarterback Ke'zion Brown was 62-for-120 passing for 1,126 yards with 18 touchdowns and three interceptions, senior wide receiver Zaire Porter had 29 receptions for 740 yards and 10 touchdowns and sophomore running back Maleek McIntosh had rushed for 905 yards and nine scores.
Eastmoor boys run to another City title
For the second consecutive season, the Eastmoor Academy boys cross country team is the City champion.
In the City meet Oct. 11 at Whetstone, the Warriors scored 51 points to edge the host Braves (56) for the title. Centennial (61) finished third, followed by Walnut Ridge (87), Northland (128), Mifflin (128), Africentric (214), East (276), Independence (283), West (296), Beechcroft (296) and South (303).
Senior Chris Chandler won the individual league title in 16 minutes, 29.2 seconds to lead Eastmoor, while senior Omavi Hamilton (17:10.8) and junior Bushra Bonkiye (17:46.2) took the next two spots, respectively. Senior Sean Hathorn was ninth (18:30.9).
"This senior class is just awesome," Warriors coach Jason Lewis said. "They really pace the team. Omavi and Sean Hathorn have been with us for four years. Chris Chandler is just having a great year."
The Warriors are hoping each of their top three runners can advance to the regional meet Oct. 28 at Pickerington North. Eastmoor will compete in the Division II, district 2 meet Saturday, Oct. 21, at Watkins Memorial, where the top four teams and top 16 runners qualify for regional.
In the girls City meet, Whetstone was first (61), followed by Centennial (64), Northland (75), Eastmoor (77), Walnut Ridge (93) and Africentric (125).
Northland senior Oajah Alcorn won the individual league title in 21:34.1, while Walnut Ridge freshman Nevaeh Reaves (21:41.3), Centennial senior Chloe Flemming (21:41.3), Northland junior Michole Martinez (21:59.1) and Whetstone sophomore Adrien Delapp (22:21.8) rounded out the top five.
City-North football race heating up
The battle for the City-North championship in football appears to be a three-team race with two weeks remaining.
Northland improved to 5-3 overall with a 53-0 win over the Columbus Crusaders club team on Oct. 13 and is 2-1 in the league as it prepares to play East on Friday, Oct. 20.
Beechcroft is 4-3 overall and 4-0 in the league after beating Whetstone 18-0 on Oct. 13 and plays host to Linden-McKinley on Oct. 20, and Mifflin is 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the league after beating East 45-12 on Oct. 13 and closes its league schedule Oct. 20 at Centennial.
In the final week of the regular season, the Punchers play at Aurora in a non-league game and Beechcroft plays host to Northland.
Assuming all three teams win Oct. 20, the Cougars would win the title outright with a victory over the Vikings. If Northland beats Beechcroft, there would be a three-way tie for the title.
The Vikings lost to Mifflin 48-34 on Sept. 22 but bounced back with wins over Whetstone (49-14 on Sept. 29) and Linden (28-0 on Oct. 6) in league play and have won three consecutive games.
"We're continuing to improve," Northland coach Brian Staats said.
"We've been able to spread the ball around a little more, which I think has helped our offensive output. Defensively, (lineman) Jordan McCall and (linebacker) D.J. Comb have been playing well."
Beechcroft has won four games in a row after an 0-3 start and has posted three consecutive shutouts against East (41-0 on Sept. 22), Centennial (32-0 on Oct. 6) and Whetstone.
Mifflin has won four games in a row since losing to Beechcroft 14-8 on Sept. 15.