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St. C. boys soccer rolls past Maysville in D-II sectional final

ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Nate Thornburg (21) and Maysville’s Alex Green battle for possession of the ball during Saturday’s Division II sectional final at Red Devil Stadium. Thornburg scored twice in the Red Devils 6-1 victory.

T-L Photo/KIM NORTH

ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Nate Thornburg (21) and Maysville’s Alex Green battle for possession of the ball during Saturday’s Division II sectional final at Red Devil Stadium. Thornburg scored twice in the Red Devils 6-1 victory.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — It didn’t take St. Clairsville very long to assert itself on a gray Saturday afternoon at Red Devil Stadium.

Nate Thornburg found the net late in the first minute and the second-seeded Red Devils cruised to a dominating 6-1 victory over visiting No. 6 Maysville in a Division II boys soccer sectional final.

With the easy win, St. Clairsville (11-2-3) advances to host the district semifinals on Wednesday opposite the West Holmes-Morgan winner. That match is set for 6:30 p.m.

“Our plan was to try and get the first shot of the game but they got it, but we were able to gather ourselves and start possessing the ball and playing Red Devil soccer,” first-year St. Clairsville head coach Jeff Roberts assessed. “It was cold day and the turf was wet this morning, but the turf dried out so the ball wasn’t skipping. We played the wings really well and that gave us the opportunity for some great crosses.”

When asked if it matters who the Red Devils play Wednesday, Roberts said, “No. We know the competition is going to get better, but to be the best you’ve got to beat the best. We’re looking forward to showing everyone around the state what we are about.”

After the Panthers recorded the game’s initial shot on goal that was easily swallowed up by St. Clairsville goalkeeper Shane Jackson, Thornburg sent a dribbler along the turf from the right wing that doinked off the post to Maysville goalkeeper Garrett Frick’s right and into the net. Palmer charted the assist.

Sixteen minutes later, Sean O’Grady looped a shot from 20 yards over top of Frick and into the net for a 2-0 advantage. Jason Clark notched the helper.

It became 3-0 in the 25th minute as Frick made a diving save on an initial shot but the all caromed right to Thornburg who blasted it through traffic and into the back of the net.

Moments later, Jesse Brannan settled the ball down to the right of Frick and then left-footed it into the far corner for a 4-0 reading at the half.

Palmer made it 5-0 early in the second half off an assist from Brannan.

Maysville nearly avoided a shutout in the 56th minute when Drew Daniels got behind a defender but his point-blank shot was denied by Jackson.

Thornburg nearly had a hat trick twice but Frick was up to the task in the 60th minute, and seconds later Thornburg hit the post to Frick’s left.

Brannan got his second tally of the contest in the 68th minute to make it 6-0.

The Panthers did avoid being blanked when Drew Daniels hit the post to Jackson’s right that was ruled a goal in the 74th minute.

Jackson charted three saves. Frick was peppered all game and recorded 19 saves.

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