Within hailing distance of Baltimore Harbor, Francis Scott Key can’t author state boys soccer championship anthem
by Gary Adornato
Francis Scott Key High School is located in Carroll County, but the Eagles’ boys soccer team set down in Baltimore, Friday night, where the man for whom their school is named, authored of the The Star Spangled Banner.
Battling Mountain Ridge of Allegany County, the Eagles ran into a talented offensive side at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex and suffered a 3-0 loss in the Class 1A state title game.
The Miners from Frostburg took advantage with two early goals and added an insurance tally in the later stages of the second half to capture their fifth straight state crown and their first since going back-to-back in 2010 and 2011.
Mountain Ridge (17-4 overall) broke on top in the eighth minute when junior midfielder Jacob Ritchie ripped a feed from classmate Logan Kiddy 25-yards inside the right post. The Miners also had the first serious threat, just a minute earlier, as Mason Reed volleyed a free kick, from the right edge, which Sean Kline one-timed over the crossbar.
The Miners doubled their advantage in the 11th minute when senior forward Brady Weimer shed a defender on the left, dribbled deep into the box and pushed a low hard shot past FSK goalkeeper Justin Kreiger.
Those early goals were the key to victory according to Mountain Ridge coach Tim Nightengale.
“We got two early scores in the first half,” said Nightengale. “In the second half, FSK really put the hammer down and put pressure on us, until we got that third goal. What a battle, what a war. We hung in and survived.”
Francis Scott Key (9-6-2) rebounded to play a strong 12 minutes later in the half, but the Eagles did not break through.
The two best opportunities for FSK each came off free kicks by senior Jakub Mihulka. In the 25th minute Mihulka blasted a 30-yard shot at the center of the goal where it was absorbed by Mountain Ridge goalie Ethan Ashenfelter. In the eighth minute, Mihulka served a deep volley at the left post which junior Grant Shipley touched wide. Senior Justin Reiger also ripped a screened shot off the right post, minutes later, but he was ruled offside on the play.
“Those specific two goals they had early, they were in points that in other games we’ve shown strengths,” said Mikulka. “I was quite disappointed in those mistakes. I don’t think we needed to change much in our style of play except score more goals.”
Both teams changed their approach dramatically in the second half, with the Miners taking a more defensive posture while the Eagles sent the house forward. The result was a ton of pressure applied by FSK and a counter-attack goal for Mountain Ridge, with just under 14 minutes to play, and an insurmountable 3-0 Miners’ lead.
The tally was an unassisted strike by Weimer, from just outside the left post. It was his second goal of the night.
Despite the setback, Francis Scott Key coach Larry Haines, Jr. beamed about his squad which was playing in its third state final, but its first since 1986 when the Eagles won the second of back-to-back state crowns.
“Some things just didn’t go our way this evening but I’m so proud of these guys,” said Haines. “They brought my program to where I always wanted it to be. We tried to build a foundation and these guys have built the walls for it. They probably put the roof on it; we just forgot the shingles.”
Pictured above: Francis Scott Key’s Luke Taylor (left) and Jacob Wants (right) comforted senior defenseman Justin Reiger after the Eagles loss to Mountain Ridge in the 1A boys soccer state championship game.
CLASS 1A BOYS STATE SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
AT RIDLEY ATHLETIC COMPLEX, LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MARYLAND
MOUNTAIN RIDGE 3, FRANCIS SCOTT KEY 0
FSK 0 0 — 2
MR 2 1 — 0
GOALS: MR Jacob Kiddy, Brady Weimer 2.
ASSIST: MR Logan Kiddy.
SAVES: FSK-Nathan Perry 3; MR- Ethan Ashenfelter 6.