MINFORD — The Minford Falcons’ defense has been a big factor in their successes over the course of their 2020 campaign.
For the third time this season, Minford (10-3-4) held an opponent scoreless — besting visiting New Boston 2-0 in a Division III sectional final on its home field.
In fact, aside from last Thursday’s 3-0 defeat at Wheelersburg, the Falcons haven’t surrendered more than one goal in a game since Sept. 10 — a 2-1 loss to South Webster.
Minford swept the season series with the Tigers, including a 3-1 win at New Boston back on Sept. 15.
Following Wednesday’s win, Minford coach Dave Gampp praised his defense for its efforts in a game when scoring opportunities were somewhat hard to come by.
“My defense has been great all year,” Gampp said. “Caden Banks in the center, Jacob Lewis as a junior, Tyler Borders whose been doing a great job with our free kicks recently, Charlie Neal as a sophomore has probably been our most improved player this season — all have been really strong in our back-four.”
Minford senior goalkeeper Jessee Cantrell also played a large role in keeping the Tigers scoreless, particularly in the latter stages of the second half when New Boston threatened with a few near-goal chances.
“Jessee grabbed a couple late really solidly, and that’s what you have to do,” Gampp said. “When you get late in the game like that, it’s just a mucked-up mess. It gets a little crazy when everyone’s trying to get anything they can on the ball. Defensively, you just want to get anything on it to get it out of there.”
Sophomore Adam Crank scored the Falcons’ lone goal in the first 40 minutes — at the 3:58 mark of the first half.
Then, with just three seconds remaining, Minford added another score to its total via a New Boston own goal.
In total, Minford attempted 10 shots with four on goal, while New Boston attempted five total shots with four on-target.
New Boston, 8-0 winners over Westfall in Saturday’s sectional semifinal, concludes its season at 7-9-1.
Tiger seniors Tanner Voiers, Kyle Sexton, Austin Gosselin and Kage Truitt played key roles and helped contribute to a combined 16 wins during their junior and senior seasons.
With the win, Minford claimed its third Division III sectional title in the last four seasons — advancing to the district semifinals where it will meet Southern Ohio Conference Division I regular-season champ Ironton St. Joe.
A win over the No. 3-seeded Flyers (16-0-1) would hand the hosts their first loss of the season — and send the No. 6-seeded Falcons back into the district finals for the first time since 2011.
“I’m excited, I told them we’ve got a good draw for our best chance to get a district title,” Gampp said. “If we want to finish, it’s there for us. It’s all in the desire right now. When you get to tournament time, you’re not going to see too many lopsided scores. We just can’t let up at anytime.”
Minford will travel to take on Ironton St. Joe on Saturday — with a start time for its D-III district semifinal set for 11 a.m.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved