COLUMBUS - Perrysburg's boys soccer team came ever so close to its season-long goal.
But the Yellow Jackets fell just a bit short, losing to Thomas Worthington 2-1 in a shootout last night before 3,542 at Crew Stadium in the state Division I soccer final.
The Cardinals scored a 4-2 advantage in the shootout as Thomas Worthington goalie Matt Gardner batted away two of Perrysburg's four shootout attempts.
“Our goal all season was to win the league, win district and get to the state championship,” said Perrysburg's Brad Borough, who suffered a broken left ankle midway through the first half. “We just came up a little short.”
Losing Borough hurt Perrysburg's chances against an all-around sound team like Thomas Worthington. Borough, who broke the same ankle six years ago, entered the title game as the Yellow Jackets' leader in goals and assists for the season.
When he rolled his ankle and was lost for the remainder of the game, Perrysburg's task became even tougher. They were already trailing 1-0 after Corey Wertz gave Thomas Worthington the lead when he found the back of the net with a crossing shot that sailed by Perrysburg goalie Casey Latchem at the 12-minute mark.
But the Yellow Jackets didn't go away quietly even with their leader standing on the sidelines with the aid of crutches. The Yellow Jackets tied the score in the second half when Chris Gregg flipped the ball behind him to a trailing Kevin King, who kicked the ball past Gardner from eight yards out at the 55-minute mark.
Neither team would score again until the game went into the shootout.
Perrysburg coach Pete Raffa couldn't have asked anymore from his team that finished the year with a 19-2-3 record.
“It's tough when you lose your captain, your leading scorer,” Raffa said. “I think our kids really played tough. They could have quit and died, but they didn't.
“I'm proud of our kids.”
Borough, who finished with 20 goals and 24 assists, admits it was difficult standing on the sidelines.
“It was a situation where you want to be out there, but the only thing you can really do is cheer the team on,” Borough said.
Perrysburg senior Chris Wagner said winning the state championship was always the goal. However, he believes they accomplished plenty this season.
“It was a great season,” Wagner said. “This was a great game to play in and for the fans to watch because it went right down to the wire.”
Latchem, who finished the game with 10 saves, didn't come away with any stops during the shootout.
Gardner, who was credited with just one save for the game, would prove to be the difference. After giving up goals in the shootout to Wagner and Matt Kampfer, Gardner batted away shots by King and Gregg, respectively, to clinch the championship for the Cardinals (20-1-2).
“It was the greatest feeling when I saved those two shots,” Gardner said.39.96199 -83.00275