April 12, 2024

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Celina boys soccer joins girls in clinching 4A state championship berth

7 min read
Celina boys soccer joins girls in clinching 4A state championship berth

GEORGETOWN — Celina boys soccer player Kohyn Gough said his team does not practice corner kicks. Gough and his teammates showed on Wednesday that you don’t need practice for perfection.

Two precise corner kicks for assists anchored Celina’s offense and a strong defensive effort most of the game took care of the rest in Celina’s 5-2 win over Stephenville in a Class 4A state semifinal at Birkelbach Field. Gough got Celina going with 24:19 left in the first half with a kick that Troy Peterson finished with a header goal. Gough got his second assist, with Chase Laster also converting with a header, with 23:56 remaining to give Celina 3-0 lead.

In between Celina got an unconventional goal when Nikolas Hamblin converted a free kick from 70 yards out with 15:47 left in the first half as near the goal line the ball took a funny bounce and went in to extend Celina’s lead.

“We’ve never practiced corner kicks. I’ve just done corner kicks my whole life,” Gough said. “Beforehand our plan was to win every set piece and it just worked for us. We were just trying to be aggressive, physical and move without the ball when it was in the air.”

Celina (22-3-1) advances to face defending state champion Boerne in the 4A state final at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Birkelbach Field. Boerne routed Stafford 7-1 in the other semifinal on Wednesday. This is Celina’s first state-tournament win after losing to Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis in a 2021 state semifinal.

Just 23 seconds after Laster’s goal Hank Melton converted from 12 yards out off passes from Rivaldo Argueta and Peterson.

Meanwhile, defenders such as Hamblin, Laster and Chase Ginocchio clamped down on a Stephenville offense that had averaged 4.6 goals per game in the playoffs, limiting the Yellow Jackets to six shots on goal. Stephenville (21-4-1) did get a pair of goals from Gio Nava as time wound down, on a header from Gabe Talamantez pass with 13:34 remaining and on a one-timer off a John Binkley pass 9:11 left. This was Stephenville’s first state-tournament game.

“I told the boys a good defensive shift was what would win this game, a shift just in terms in hard work,” Celina coach Cody Moles said. “It took us a while to settle in this game. We can’t afford to do that against Boerne. If we can defend first and get our numbers forward against Boerne we’re going to be very dangerous.”

Celina’s Josten Watkins iced the win with a breakaway with 2:53 remaining. Nathan Yost had three saves in goal for Celina.

Both Celina boys and girls teams have clinched spots in the 4A state title games.

Boerne 7, Stafford 1

Sam Theiss had a state-tournament record three goals while Boerne set a 4A team record for scoring in rolling in the other 4A state semifinal. Boerne (26-2-1) broke the previous mark of five goals set by San Elizario while Theiss broke the individual mark of two set by six players previously, including Dylan Sadler of Argyle in 2018.

Boerne will be going for its third state title. Aron Maldonado had a goal for Stafford (20-6-4).

Stephenville fans celebrate after winning a Class 4A boys soccer state semifinals match...

1/22Stephenville fans celebrate after winning a Class 4A boys soccer state semifinals match against Stephenville at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown, Texas, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Celina defeated Stephenville 5-2 to advance to the state championship.(Elias Valverde II / Staff Photographer)

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