Northridge puts out Hartselle|
By Bradley Handwerger
DAILY Sports Writer
firstname.lastname@example.org · 340-2462
HARTSELLE — Trying to get past the state's sixth-ranked team in Class 5A proved more difficult than moving past the No. 3 team for Hartselle High.
The Tigers' boys soccer team fell 2-1 to Northridge in the state quarterfinals, ending the season two games short of the Tigers ultimate goal, a state championship.
DAILY Photo by Gary Cosby Jr.|
Hartselle's Nick Galloway, left, and Northridge's Hunter Steiner go for a header. Northridge scored a 2-1 win in the state quarterfinals.
Northridge (18-6-3) will play Cullman in Friday's semifinals.
The deciding goal came late in the first half when a Hartselle defender headed the ball backward into his own goal.
"A win is a win. We'll take it," a relieved Northridge head coach Zac Crawford said.
On the play, Jaguars' midfielder Tarik Trent crossed the ball into the 6-yard box from about 40 yards out. Hartselle goalkeeper Brad Galloway couldn't get to the ball.
Tigers' defender Nathan Payne attempted to head the ball back to Galloway, but he was nowhere near and the ball bounced into the net.
"That makes (the loss) tough," Hartselle forward Patrick Whatley said. "But it happens. That happened to be our first own goal all year.
"Nathan has been such a great defender. That in itself is not what beat us."
In a physically played game that included seven yellow cards and a red, what beat Hartselle was its inability to control the midfield.
Trent's quick touch on the ball combined with Northridge's speedy forwards were enough to throw Hartselle (10-9-1) off its game.
The consistent whistle of the official didn't help matters.
"It was pretty helter-skelter," Crawford said. "It was clear we possessed the ball a lot. But we weren't able to capitalize."
Hartselle was on defense from the outset. Northridge took the kickoff and booted the ball to the Tigers' goal.
For the next 21 minutes, the ball rarely crossed midfield while Galloway stayed under a continuous barrage of Northridge shots.
"We were playing with them but their midfield was so strong," Hartselle head coach Darrell Harris said. "We didn't control it — their midfield did."
Said Crawford: "Tarik is our go-to guy. He has what very few people have, and that's the ability to control the game."
In the 21st minute, Northridge broke through. Midfielder David Martinez corralled a loose ball and rocketed a shot from 20 yards out past Galloway to give the Jaguars a 1-0 lead.
Minutes later, Hartselle tied the game. Aaron Burleson made a run down the sideline before crossing the ball into the penalty box.
The Northridge keeper misplayed the ball, which caromed off a defender to the feet of Brian Hume, who knocked the ball in to the empty net.
Eight minutes later, in the 32nd minute, Trent played the long ball into the box that gave Northridge the game-winning goal.
While the first half was played relatively cleanly, it was in the second half where things began to turn ugly. Player after player found his way either onto the ground or in the officials' scorebook for a card.
It came to a head in the 63rd minute.
Trent kicked a free kick into the box. Galloway caught the ball, but it fell out of his hands onto the ground.
A scrum ensued in front of the goal and ended with Galloway leaving the game after getting kicked in the ribs.
Northridge thought it had a goal on the play as the team kicked the ball in the net during the melee.
But the official ruled in favor of Hartselle because Galloway was on the ground injured.
Ian Greenhaw replaced Galloway and didn't give up a goal.
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