Woodrow Wilson Grabs Another Title With Boys' Win (2002)

This article appeared in the Register-Herald on Nov. 10, 2002.

"I thought at the beginning if we got the guys to buy into the team concept, they could do it," 14th-year coach Rocky Powell said. "They've played together for so long, and they play with such passion and desire. It paid off today."

It was the first soccer championship for the Flying Eagles, who lost 1-0 to Parkersburg in the 1996 finals.

Woodrow dominated the first half, keeping Park on the defensive and getting goals from Kyle Thompson, Josh Underwood and Byron Burgess.

"Our plan was to possess the ball, move it around and work it in," Powell said. "We did that in the first half."

The first goal was unassisted, however. Five minutes into the game, Thompson worked past a defender and booted a 20-yarder past Patriots goalie Kyle Ackerman. It was Thompson's 11th goal of the year.

Underwood made it 2-0 early in the second period by racing full-speed to the goal and heading a Thompson pass.

"I was setting up and saw Kyle with the ball," said Underwood, who notched his second goal of the playoffs. "He shot it across and I just put it in."

Burgess' goal at the 30-minute mark was the third of a flurry of shots.

Chase Deweese worked past a Park defender and blasted a shot that was deflected by Ackerman. Gary Taylor booted the rebound, but his shot also bounced away.

Burgess did not miss.

"I caught the goalie out of position. I was in the right place at the right time," he said. "I've been unlucky with goals (it was his sixth), but I scored when it counted."

Woodrow finished the half with a 9-5 advantage in shots on goal. But Park came out firing in the second half and scored in the fourth minute when Luke Hladeck boomed a shot high over Eagles goalie Jordon Yost.

The shot ended Woodrow's hopes for a record 17th shutout.

"It was an easy shot," Yost said. "But when I tried to jump I just couldn't get any footing in the goal."

"That's the first time all year a shot has gone over Jordon's head," Powell said.

Yost finished the game with 11 saves, including five in the third period and three more in the fourth. None was bigger than a leaping stop of a direct kick by the Patriots' Joe Burkland in the closing minutes.

"Jordon came up big several times today," Powell said. "I can't say enough about him. For a sophomore to step up like that is unbelievable."

Flying Eagle defenders Dereck Carson, Adam Voloski and Ryan Stover also made key plays in the final three minutes to preserve the victory.

Carson said the defense made sure standout forward Chad Evans, who had scored 42 goals, did not get clean shots.

"We locked him down," Carson said. "He didn't have much of a game."

The Patriots, the defending state champions, ended their year at 22-4.

"(Woodrow) came out with a good game plan and they executed it in the first half," Park coach Mario Julian said. "Then they held on for dear life in the second half. They have a very good team."

The Flying Eagles lose seven seniors but will return a solid nucleus next season. Powell said any talk of a repeat is premature.

"We'll think about it next year. I don't want to put a monkey on their backs," he said. "But we'll be good, and anything's possible."

State Champions, One More Time! (2004)

This article appeared in the Register-Herald on Nov. 6, 2004.


Woodrow Wilson scored two first-half goals, then turned to its defense to down Parkersburg 3-1 in the boys high school soccer state final at the YMCA Sports Complex Saturday.

It was the second title in the last three years for the Flying Eagles, who concluded their season at 20-2.

"I had wondered if the second one would feel different than the first, but both were the same," coach Rocky Powell said. "The difference is these boys played more as a team in that we had more guys scoring."

Three different players scored against Parkersburg, much as Woodrow had done throughout the season.

"We had so many guys up front who shared the wealth," Powell said. "I think that makes us as good or better than the team in 2002."

Tim Larson scored 20 minutes into the contest and Evan Cline followed with his second goal of the tournament later in the half.

With Parkersburg looking for revenge for a 4-1 loss earlier in the campaign, Woodrow wanted to score first against the Big Reds.

"The first goal is something we've talked about all year," Powell said. "It was really important today."

Larson, a senior forward, scored when a shot by Joseph Rodriguez bounced off a defender. Larson quickly tapped it in with his left foot.

Cline's goal was similar to one he had scored in Woodrow's 3-2 win over Martinsburg in the semifinals Friday.

"Alex George made a quick steal and I saw the defender was in back of me," the senior midfielder said. "I made a touch (getting around a final defender) and went at the goalie and placed it perfectly."

"Those early goals really put us behind the eight ball," Big Reds coach Don Fosselman said. "We had to take some chances."

Parkersburg, 20-3-1 and ranked third in the state, played more aggressively in the second half and controlled play around the midfield stripe. But top-rated Woodrow's defense refused to give.

"I don't think we had a letdown. Parkersburg came out hard and we went to a defensive mode," Powell said. "It wasn't intentional, it just happened. But until we got our feet underneath us and started moving the ball again, we did look more of a defensive team."

In the 70th minute, George took a through ball from Thacker and was tripped as he made a run at the goal.

George drilled the ensuing penalty kick, upping Woodrow's advantage to three goals.

Three minutes later, Parkersburg's Brian Sapp scored from 10 yards out, and the Big Reds failed on two final opportunities.

Michael Pitrolo made a run but kicked the ball just outside the post to the left. Shortly afterward, Woodrow's Jonathan Stanley raced in to clear another ball near the 18.

"That penalty kick really hurt," Fosselman said. "It would have been 2-1, and Pitrolo had that great look late in the game but it just went wide. It's a game of inches."

Parkersburg finished with seven shots on goal to five for the Flying Eagles.

Woodrow keeper Jordon Yost, who had started on the 2002 team, had six saves in goal.

His best came on another boot by Pitrolo at the 22nd minute. He made a lightning-quick lunge to the right to knock the ball away.

"Jordon is a heck of a goalie. If we were going to beat him, we were going to beat him low because anything in his wheelhouse, he's going to take," Fosselman said. "He's extremely strong in the air and makes difficult saves look easy.

"I just don't think we had the right type of shot we wanted - we didn't make him scramble a little bit. The goal we got at the end was a deflection, and there weren't too many of those in the game."

Yost said he felt confident Woodrow would prevail.

"We didn't want to take Parkersburg lightly, but we always say if we come out and play our game, nobody can play with us," he said. "I felt comfortable today."

The game was played before a crowd of 400. The 2002 championship had come against Wheeling Park at Schoenbaum Stadium in Charleston.

"It's definitely an advantage to be at home. You get more fans out and it keeps you going," Yost said. "It's just nice to have been here and actually win."

Woodrow Soccer Team Ranked 10th in Nation (2004)

This article appeared in the Register-Herald on Nov. 9, 2004.

Woodrow Wilson's Class AAA state champion boys soccer team moved into a three-way tie for the No. 10 spot in the NSCAA/Adidas national rankings Tuesday.

The Flying Eagles are tied with Downers Grove (Ill.) South and Liberty (Colorado Springs, Colo.) in the latest rankings. Woodrow was ranked 23rd before the 13-spot jump.

In the Region 4 rankings, the Eagles are No. 2 behind DeMatha Catholic of Hyattsville, Md. Region 4 includes all high school teams from Delaware, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Woodrow defeated Parkersburg 3-1 Saturday for its second state title in three years.

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