Panther soccer falls in regional final

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER

soccer ball - generic RESIZEDThe up and down campaign that had been the 2016 season for the O’Fallon Township High School boys soccer team came to a difficult end on Saturday evening, falling 2-0 to Quincy at the Panther Athletic Complex.

O’Fallon, who struggled all season to find any sort of long-lasting consistency, couldn’t get much going against a swarming Quincy defense, as the Panther defense simply couldn’t replicate heroic performance in the Regional semi-final against Belleville West.

That particular Tuesday contest was among the best played among Southwestern Conference teams throughout any point in the season, as the Panthers and Maroons were locked into a tense scoreless tie until O’Fallon was able to find the shootout magic it needed to put itself in position to advance to the IHSA Sectional.

Senior Preston Porter would provide the crucial tally in the shootout, ensuring his high school career would last until the weekend.

OTHS’ days were numbered, however, as the Blue Devils made sure their 2 hour trip south was worth the drive, combining season-success with stout defense and timely offense, a recipe that often works in October.

Quincy defeated Belleville East 4-1 in the semi-final and will now play the Kahoks in the first round of Sectional play in Collinsville on Tuesday in a game that went final after this issue went to print.

“I want to thank our seniors for just being who they are,” Head Coach Jason Turkington said after the loss. “I’m really going to miss coaching and just being around them.”

“The boys worked hard and had a great season,” Turkington added. “They dealt with a lot of adversity all season-long.”

The Panthers boast a bevy of young talent, however, as the future looks bright for the Blue and Gold.

Sophomore Jordan Ellis showed flashes of explosiveness at times during the season, and freshman Ben Koenig only figures to gain from his invaluable experience as a starter.

OTHS will of course miss the contributions of a core of great seniors, as it will be impossible for the program to replace the likes of Aris Cesa and Austin Wilkerson, among others. Blake Stroh, Luke Stadts, Preston Porter, and Steth Garst also suited up for O’Fallon for the final time.