CENTENARY, Ohio — Finally.
After four seasons and eight head-to-head matches without a victory, the Gallia Academy soccer team finally came up with all the right answers for visiting Jackson Tuesday night during a 5-3 decision in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League contest at Lester Field in Gallia County.
The Blue Devils (4-5-0, 1-4-0 SEOAL) mustered a tie with the Ironmen (0-9-0, 0-5-0) during their final match last fall, but the hosts hadn’t defeated the Red and White since winning four consecutive decisions through the 2009 and 2010 campaigns.
GAHS never trailed in the contest and led by as many as three goals (5-2) with under eight minutes left in regulation. The Blue Devils also received a hat trick from junior Isaiah Lester and posted a 16-11 edge in shots.
It was the first win over JHS in soccer for these six seniors, as well as the other members of the team and for first-year GAHS coach Richard Isberner. Afterwards, the rookie frontman was all smiles — just like his troops.
“I’m happy when the kids are happy, and they are pretty happy right now … so,” Isberner said. “They left everything they had out on the field and they applied what we have been teaching them out there on the field. Most importantly, they had fun playing the game tonight. So yes, I’m pretty happy right now.”
Senior Logan Carpenter started the scoring in the second minute after netting an unassisted goal, then Carpenter recorded an assist on Lester’s first goal — which gave the hosts a 2-0 edge nine minutes in.
Devon Ball, however, recorded back-to-back goals in the 11th and 18th minutes, allowing the Ironmen to rally back and tie the game at two entering the intermission. Quinton Haislop had assists on both of Ball’s scores.
Lester netted a pass from Carpenter in the 47th minute to give GAHS a permanent lead at 3-2, then Lester completed his hat trick on an unassisted goal in the 48th minute for a 4-2 advantage.
Senior Zach Johnson put the nail in the coffin after going half the field and coming away with an unassisted goal in the 73rd minute, giving the hosts a sizable 5-2 edge.
Chase Thorpe netted a pass from Ball with 3:56 left in regulation to wrap up the two-goal outcome.
GAHS claimed a 4-1 edge in corner kicks and received five saves from junior keeper Caden Wilt. Jackson keeper Caden Southard stopped two shots in the setback.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.