VINCENT - A rainbow appeared in the heavens after Warren rallied to defeat visiting Marietta 2-1 in overtime in a boys' soccer sectional final Saturday.
A good sign for the Warriors? Perhaps.
Warren, the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League co-champion with a 12-2-4 overall record, will now advance and play Lancaster Fairfield Union (7-3-6) in a district semifinal at Lucasville Valley at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Shane Perdew-coached Falcons defeated Washington Court House (6-7-2) , 3-0, in a Division 2 sectional tilt in Rushville on Saturday.
MIKE MILLER Special to The Times
Warren’s Eli Duff (21) goes after the ball, which Marietta’s Andrew Roberts, right, is trying to clear out during sectional final boys’ soccer action at Warren High School Saturday. On the ground between the two players is injured Holden Weihl of Marietta. The Warriors rallied to win 2-1 in overtime.
"You know that when it's a Marietta-Warren game, it's going to be 2-1 or 1-0," said second-year Warriors' head coach Andrew Johnson. "That 5-2 game doesn't usually happen."
During regular-season play, Warren beat Marietta, 5-2 in Vincent, and also lost to the Tigers, 1-0, at Don Drumm Stadium.
"Neither team was 100 percent," Johnson continued. "Their best player Brent Huck was hurt, and I was missing one of my better players in Alex Miller. It was just gut-check time. Both teams gave everything they had. It just a great game all the way around.
Marietta 1 OT
Sectional final, at Vincent
Marietta (11-4-3) 1 0 0 - 1
Warren (12-2-4) 0 1 1 - 2
M: Owen LaBarre, unassisted, 14th minute
W: Eli Duff, unassisted, 63rd minute
W: Evan Yabs (match winner), unassisted, 83rd minute
Shots: M 5, W 21
Keeper saves: M (Eric Pierce) 13, W (Cody Stanley) 2
Corner kicks: M 0, W 7
Next match: Warren vs. Fairfield Union in district semifinal at Valley at 7 p.m. Tuesday
Eli Duff scored the equalizer in the second half, and Evan Yabs got the match-winner early in overtime for Warren, which trailed 1-0 at the intermission.
Owen LaBarre had the only score for the East Central Ohio League repeat champion Tigers, who exit with an 11-4-3 overall mark.
"It's tough," said MHS head coach Todd Morris. "I thought we had the game in hand 1-0, but give Warren credit for coming back. They defended their home field. They finished, and we wish them the best of luck going forward."
Warren went on the attack early, and gave Marietta keeper Eric Pierce a workout between the pipes. Pierce, a junior, finished the contest with 13 saves.
"Eric was busy," Morris said. "They (Warren) kept a lot of pressure on us, and they did what they needed to do to advance. We just came up a little short."
At the 26:08 mark, MHS attempted its first shot on goal, and it was a good one as LaBarre drilled it past Warren goalie Cody Stanley to make it 1-0.
Then, just before the break, Marietta's Jacob Holdren slipped one into the back of the net, but the score was nullified due to an offsides.
"That was a big momentum swing," Morris said. "Obviously 2-0 is much better than 1-0.
"And, you know, we could never get that second goal to put them away."
Warren, no doubt, felt fortunate to be trailing by only one at halftime.
"I brought my boys aside and said to them, 'Look. Look at the seniors. This is the last time they'll play together,'" Johnson said. "So, this team went out in the second half and rose to the occasion."
Still offensive-minded in the second half, Warren finally tied the score at 1-all when Duff beat Pierce with a hard shot in the 63rd minute.
"I was just there and was able to finish it after the ball bounced off the keeper," said Duff who had a hat trick in the 5-2 win over Marietta.
Said Johnson, "If every player on the team had a heart that Eli Duff has, we might not ever lose a game. He'll give everything for me. You need those 'glue players' to come up big."
Yabs, another glue player and a defensive mid, scored 2 minutes and 21 seconds into the extra session to give the Warriors the sudden death victory.
"I think Ben (Koch) crossed the ball, and they (Marietta) cleared it out," said Yabs of his winning score. "And when they did that, the ball came right to me, and I kicked it with my left foot. I really didn't kick it that hard, but it went in. That's all that matters, I guess."