The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

May 10, 2013

Athens season ends at state semis

HUNTSVILLE — Athens boys team was inches away.

Literally.

Trailing 1-0, Jose Soto’s long-range shot with less than a minute to play bounced off the underside of the crossbar and down on the goal line, inches from going in.

Briarwood fought off one Athens attack after another in the second half to hold on for a 1-0 victory in the 5A semifinals Friday afternoon at John Hunt Park.

“It was a nail-biter. We knew it wasn’t over until the final whistle,” said senior captain Wynn Baker. “They just made some big saves at the end. That was the difference.”

Athens sent wave after wave to attack the Briarwood goal in the closing minutes of the game. Its best chances came with less than two minutes to play.

Pressing for a goal, Wynn Baker fired a shot from 30 yards, forcing Briarwood’s goalie to go full stretch to his left to save the dipping ball. On the ensuing corner, the ball bounced out to Soto who ripped another shot toward Briarwood’s goal.

Soto’s ball hit the crossbar and sent Briarwood’s defense into chaos trying to clear the ball in the dying seconds of the game. Moments later the referee blew the final whistle, ending Athens unbeaten season.

“We repeatedly attacked their goal in the second half,” said Athens head coach Ron Oakley. “They outplayed us a little in the first half and we challenged our guys to step up and they did just that.”

Athens outshot Briarwood 11 to 5 in the second half and 15 to 8 for the game.

Briarwood took the lead in the 23rd minute when Lee Conner found space on the right flank. Conner’s shot from the right side of the 18-yard box slid past Dean Bunnell and into the side netting for the game’s only goal.

It was the first time Athens’ trailed all season.

“The response we had is what I expected from them,” said Oakley. “This team has character and they’ve showed it for the past four years. Somebody always steps up. I’m proud of the way they played. I couldn’t have been more proud if we had won.”

Athens ends its season with a 21-1-1 record.

1
Text Only
Local News 2
Poll

A recent national telephone survey found 75 percent of respondents believe the sale and use of pot will eventually be legal nationwide. Do you think marijuana should be legal in Alabama?

Yes
No
No, but I don’t think pot smokers should go to jail
Yes, but only for medical use
Yes, but only for personal adult use
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee