GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — To quote Yogi Berra, “It was like deja vu all over again.”
For the second straight year, Chance Burleson scored the game-winning goal from 20 yards out in the 78th minute — allowing Ohio Valley Christian to claim its first-ever repeat of the Holzer Cup following a 3-2 triumph in a non-conference soccer match in the Old French City.
Burleson — who last year provided the only score with a 20-yard direct kick goal with 2:09 left in regulation — again provided the heroics in the seventh annual contest, only this time with 2:48 remaining in a match deadlocked at two apiece.
Burleson took control of the ball just outside the right corner of the 18-yard box, then lofted a shot toward the back-left of the goal that ultimately trickled into the net with less than three minutes left in the contest.
Burleson’s second score of the night proved to be just enough for the Defenders (8-3-1) en route to earning their second straight Holzer Cup win and third overall in the past four years. The Blue Devils (2-6-1) still own a 4-3 overall advantage in Holzer Cup play since starting the series in 2006.
OVCS — which has won four straight matches against Gallia Academy — jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage in the game. Richard Bowman gave the hosts a 1-0 edge in the 12th minute after netting a crossing pass from Burleson, then Burleson netted a crossing pass from Caleb McKitrick in the 20th minute for a 2-0 cushion with 20:10 left in the first half.
GAHS, however, quickly retaliated with a pair of goals before the intermission. Jacob Click took a crossing pass from Sam Hemphill and shot from the right side to back-left corner of the net, pulling the Blue Devils to within 2-1 in the 26th minute. Hemphill followed by burying a point-blank shot in the back of the net in the 38th minute, allowing the guests to pull even at two with 2:04 left before the intermission.
Despite several missed opportunities for both teams, the score remained tied at two for nearly 40 minutes — until Burleson provided the final fireworks — again — in the 78th minute.
The Defenders outshot GAHS by a 19-9 overall margin and claimed a 10-9 edge in shots on goal. Marshall Hood made seven saves in net for the victors, while Jason Sayre made seven stops in goal for the Blue Devils.
Previous scores from Holzer Cup matches are: Gallia Academy 3-0 (2006), Gallia Academy 6-0 (2007), Gallia Academy 2-1 (2008), Ohio Valley Christian 2-2 (2009), Gallia Academy 2-2 (2010) and Ohio Valley Christian 1-0 (2011). OVCS won the 2009 shootout by a 4-3 count to break the tie, while GAHS won the 2010 shootout by a 2-1 margin to break the tie.
Gallia Academy’s last regulation win over the Defenders came on August 26, 2010, by an 8-1 decision. OVCS has outscored the Blue Devils by a 14-4 margin in the five matchups since.