WHEELING- Two months ago to the day, when Parkersburg and Wheeling Park met at Wheeling Island to start the season, it was under much different circumstances.
Balmy weather greeted the teams in that opener, and nothing was decided, as the Big Reds and Patriots played to a 1-1 draw.
Thursday night, with conditions bordering on freezing, and a Class AAA Region I, Section I title on the line, different circumstances rendered different results.
Photo by DAVE MORRISON
Wheeling Park’s Jake Klatt dribbles up field against the defense of Parkersburg’s Evan Rhodes.
Parkersburg's Tommy Logston logged a pair of foals as the Big Red rolled to a 4-0 victory.
"I remember that day, I made a note in my (scorer's) book, 'hot, hot, hot,' " Parkersburg coach Don Fosselman said. "It was a little different. I'm so proud of my kids, because (Wheeling Park coach) Mario (Julian) and his team came out and had us on our heels early. We weren't into it early."
Several times, Fosselman implored his team to wake up.
Logston sounded the wake-up call when he spun around and delivered a shot from about 30 yards out that kept bending to just elude the outstretched arms of Wheeling Park goalkeeper Ryan Seidewitz.
"That was a perfect shot," Julian said. "Anytime you give up a goal you automatically get defensive, not wanting to give up another goal after that. When we had to open it up in the second half, they have good speed and good shooters and they were able to exploit us."
Mainly, it was Logston, who added a goal in the second half to give the Big Reds a cushion. Evan Rhodes tallied the third and Tyler Bro added the fourth goal.
The turning point in the game actually came early in the second half, when Park looked to have an opportunity to tie the score but Parkersburg cleared the golden opportunity and Logston moments later tallied his second goal of the game at the 22:30 mark.
"That was a huge swing right there," Julian said. "Turning point of the game. When they cleared that ball from the end line, and we come away without a goal, it was huge. They scored right after that and we were fighting an uphill battle."
It was a battle Park would not win. The Patriots attempted six shots and had five corner kicks as well.
Logston added a goal at the 12:11 mark and Bro capped it off with a goal with 1:41 remaining.
Parkersburg goalkeeper Reid Strobel was inpenatrable in the net, with six saves, including a diving stop with 1:30 remaining to keep the shutout intact.
"Tommy played a great game," Fosselman said. "I also thought our big guy up front, Evan Rhodes, played a great game. He made a lot of things happen and that was a big difference for us."
Rhodes had the goal and an assist for Parkersburg (17-1-3) and Bro had another. The Big Reds attempted nine shots and had five corner kicks, all in the first half.
Seidewitz had six saves in goal for Wheeling Park.
The Patriots finish the season at 14-5-2 and lose 11 seniors, and eight starters, to graduation.
"They were the better team," Julian said. "They deserved to win the game. I hope they go far into the playoffs and represent the section well."a