By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
SOUTH CHARLESTON —
Woodrow Wilson and George Washington battled on the Friends of Coal Fields at Trace Fork Tuesday night in a way that would make Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield proud.
And while the match lasted 80 minutes, it only took two of them to decide the winner.
The George Washington Patriots’ Daniel Glines scored his first of three goals in the second minute of the match, in a 3-0 shutout win for the Class AAA Region 3 boys championship.
“(Daniel) was in the right place at the right time,” said George Washington coach Tom Hopper. “I thought it was a tribute to him. He played well.”
While Glines’ hat trick was the highlight of the night, it wasn’t to the discredit of the Flying Eagles.
Despite the score line, Woodrow held possession for much of the game, and outshot George Washington 6-5.
However, getting the shots in the net would prove to be a problem, thanks in part to the hard defense of GW’s back line.
“They do a good job back there,” Woodrow coach Rocky Powell said. “We got in this long ball thing and were trying to get over the top of them. But all the space was in front of them, and we didn’t take advantage of that. The second half we tried to, but they got that quick score again.”
In what seemed like a replay of the first half, just two minutes after halftime, Glines once again found the net. He would add his third goal just 7 minutes later.
“In all honestly, we got that first goal but I don’t think we took momentum,” said Hopper. “I thought they took it to us for quite a while, but, once again, the defense pretty much took care of it. I don’t think we set momentum until the second goal. That made us breathe a little bit easier. That maybe gave us some momentum.”
In the end, there just weren’t enough breaks to fall the Flying Eagles way, or ticks of the clock remaining for Woodrow to return to the state playoffs, which will be hosted in Beckley at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex next weekend.
It will be as much of an adjustment playing on the hard and patchy surface of Cline Stadium for George Washington as it was playing on Trace Fork’s FieldTurf and Woodrow.
“Playing on this turf is tough,” Powell said. “This is why we went over to Epling Stadium on Saturday and Monday to play on that turf a little bit and knock the ball around to try to get used to it. It’s a completely different game when you know how to play on it. The speed is a completely different game.”
The match marks the end of the line for the Flying Eagles, who have battled to get to the playoffs, going through foggy conditions with Princeton and knocking off their undefeated rival Oak Hill in the sectional finals.
“I’m very proud of these guys,” Powell added. “This isn’t the result I’d like to have. I don’t think any of them can say they didn’t leave it all out there. That’s all I can ask of them.”
As for if the 24-year Flying Eagle coach Powell will return for a 25th season, despite speculation he would retire, the veteran coach gave a sly smile and a brief response.
“We’ll wait and see.”
— E-mail: jrollins
@register-herald.con and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.