Rockets, Comets, Eagles close, but no cigar this year

J. Patrick Eaken

Among the nine boys soccer teams in the Eastern Maumee Bay community, there were no league champions, but there were three teams that finished as runner-up, narrowly missing on a title.
Clay finished the season 9-5-3 and was ranked fifth in the Northwest District Division I coaches’ poll. Genoa, at 10-5-3, was ranked 10th in D-III. Oak Harbor, which is in the North Central District, closed the season 14-3-1 overall.
Among the three teams, two had players receiving all-state honors or their league’s Player of the Year honor. Oak Harbor senior forward Aidan Barton is second team All-Ohio in D-II, and Genoa senior forward Dillon Sims was named the Northern Buckeye Conference Player of the Year.
Barton and Sims share this year’s Alan Miller Jewelers Player of the Year Award, and Genoa coach Tim Memmer is the Coach of the Year after taking his team to another level this year.
Genoa finished one point behind Rossford in the NBC standings. The Comets and Bulldogs tied 2-2 in their first matchup and Genoa won the rematch, 5-4, but the Comets’ 5-4 loss to Eastwood and a 6-6 tie with the Eagles proved to be costly.
Rossford, which was led by Ian Teague, who had 71 points on 26 goals and 19 assists, beat Eastwood twice (6-4 and 4-2) and only had the tie with Genoa and loss to the Comets.
The Bulldogs (17 points) finished 8-1-1 and the Comets (16 points) were 7-1-2, followed by Eastwood (6-3-1), Lake (4-5-1), Otsego (1-7-2) and Woodmore (0-9-1).
Sims, a first team All-NBC and all-district selection, led Genoa with 57 points on 20 goals and 17 assists.
“He has been in the top two of our team all four years during his career,” Memmer said. “Even leading in assists, he creates more goals for teammates without touching the ball. His movement off the ball attracts attention to clear out space.”
Memmer, whose program is in solid shape for the next two years, says Sims was more than just his star senior. Memmer says Sims was like an assistant coach.
“Dillon’s value to our team goes beyond stats. I had a very young team with 11 of our 17 players being freshmen and sophomores,” Memmer said. “He was a tremendous mentor helping these youngsters get ready over the offseason, keeping them focused through the season, and taking great pride in their success. Dillon was a great assistant coach.”
Genoa finished strong, winning five straight games to close the regular season. Wins were over Woodmore (4-0), Rossford (5-4), Lake (4-3), Bowling Green (4-3) and Otsego (8-0). The Comets opened the tournament winning a sixth straight, 9-1, over Otsego but lost in the district tournament to defending state champ Archbold (5-0).
Rockets young, too
        Oak Harbor, like Genoa, was young and the program’s future is in good shape, although coach Ken Filar is planning to retire after this season. The Rockets finished second to Edison in the SBC Bay Division
        “They were our only two losses (2-1 and 5-0) of the season. They (Edison) are mostly seniors and some juniors and big and fast,” Filar said. “We’re young and small and we just couldn’t match up with them very well — even though we outplayed them in the first game. 
        “We also were without two starting defenders the first game and were playing a freshman in the back for most of the game. It was great experience for him, and he did well. We had one of the two injured defenders back for the rematch, but senior Brock Hanney was not — and we gave up a couple of early bad goals that we couldn’t recover from.”
        Barton was Oak Harbor’s leader in goals (29) and assists (11) for the second straight season. He is a two-time first team All-SBC and all-district selection.
        “He was a two-time team captain, which is very rare for Oak Harbor to have a non-senior captain,” Filar said. “He is a team leader on the field and during training and pushes his teammates with his high work rate and expectations. He leads by example and is not a natural ‘rah-rah’ type of personality. He’s also very supportive, helpful, and encouraging to the younger players on the squad.
        “He has worked hard and developed his weaker left foot over the years and is now capable of scoring in multiple ways from close in or from distance. When you combine his speed and skill, there’s no better goal scorer or diverse player in our area than Aidan.”
        Oak Harbor won a D-II sectional title with a 5-1 win over Perkins. Barton led the way with two goals and two assists.
        Barton, who is Academic All-District (3.73 GPA) and a member of National Honor Society, was also a two-time All-Ohioan in track. Filar says Barton is keeping his options to play collegiate soccer wide open.
        “Aidan is considering his options and is looking at multiple schools. He has not decided yet if he’s going to play in college, but his main focus is in the area of computer science and cyber security,” Filar said.
        Clay was led by Keeghan Calkins (11 goals, 8 assists) and Ruger Wamer (11 goals, 5 assists) and goalkeeper Trevor Jurski had 51 saves and led the defense to four shutouts.
        Clay finished 5-1-1 in the always tough Three Rivers Athletic Conference, tied with St. Francis for second place. It is the second straight year Clay has been runner-up in a league that St. Francis and St. John’s typically dominate.             
        League wins were over Central Catholic (1-0), Findlay (1-0), Lima Senior (7-0), Fremont Ross (3-1) and Whitmer (6-3). The Eagles tied St. Francis (2-2) and the only league loss was to champion St. John’s, 5-0. Even though Clay was the higher seed, their season ended with a 1-0 loss to St. Francis at Clay Memorial Stadium in the tournament.
        The All-Press selections are taken directly from the all-league teams with some tweaking based on all-district and all-state voting. The results are based on the coaches voting but do not take into account that players in some leagues may be more highly skilled than in other leagues.

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