It took just 16 seconds for Valley to get on the board on Tuesday evening. But when it came to crunch time, it was the Clay Panthers that took control.
Clay scored four unanswered goals in the second half — three by Ethan Newton — as the Panthers rallied for a 4-2 win at Valley High School.
“Our kids never quit after getting down,” Clay soccer coach Mark Trapp said. “It was a great team effort.”
Seconds into the game, Valley’s Zack Gahm received a pass from Hunter Greathouse and put the ball past the Panther keeper. Gahm scored again in the closing minutes of the first half to give the Indians a 2-0 halftime lead.
To make matters worse for the Panthers, starting keeper Brayden Queen went down with an injury. But backup goalie Anthony Williams responded in the second half, coming up with four saves, including one on a penalty kick.
“We received great leadership from Anthony Williams,” Trapp said. “He stepped up in the second half and played a great game.”
It didn’t take long for Clay to equal the score. Ethan Newton came up with back-to-back goals in the first 20 minutes of the half to tie the score at two. After Tyler Knittel put the Panthers ahead in the 72nd minute, Newton added one more to complete a hat trick with just two minutes remaining in the game.
The Panthers take the field again on Thursday, when they host North Adams. Valley is off until Saturday, when they host Adena.
Clay def. Valley 4-2
First half — 1, Valley, Z. Gahm (H. Greathouse), 1st minute. 2, Valley, Z. Gahm, 38th minute.
Second half — 3, Clay, E. Newton (T. Adams), 53rd minute. 4, Clay, E. Newton (T. Knittel), 60th minute. 5, Clay, T. Knittel (I. Chamberlin), 72nd minute. 6, Clay, E. Newton (T. Knittel), 77th minute.
Reach Alex Hider at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter