NILES, OH (WKBN)-The South Range Raiders boys soccer team is hoping that the third time is the charm. For the third time in as many years the Raiders have won a district title by virtue of their dominating 4-0 win over the Lake Center Tigers Saturday afternoon at Niles Bo Rein Stadium.
“This just gives us such a good feeling. It gives us a good feeling to be able to do it again,” Sophomore forward Brandon Youngs said about winning District again this year. “This year we are pushing to go farther, we don’t want to lose in the state finals. We want to win state. It’s going to be our goal.”
It’s still a big game and a big win,” senior center Landon Baer remarked. “We have won it three years in a row but it still means a lot”
“Its the same feeling. I mean the first time it was great. This is good though,” Raiders coach Joe Staffeld said.
This was also the third time that the Raiders have beaten Lake Center in district play, having shut them out on all three occasions. The past two years they have defeated the Tigers by identical 2-0 scores.
On Saturday the Raiders used a smothering defense, only allowing five shots on their senior goal keeper Brant Rothbauer. On the other hand the Raiders managed twelve on the Tigers with both Youngs and Baer recording two a piece.
Youngs first goal of the game came at the 31:12 mark of the first half, and proved to be the game winning point. Baer would add a goal at the 22:40 mark, giving the Raiders a 2-0 advantage at the intermission.
The two would repeat their performance in the second half as Baer scored with 13:20 remaining in the contest, followed by Youngs second goal at the 11:01 mark.
“Great kids. I’ve been watching Brandon play since he was five. He’s a great athlete, and we’re blessed to have him on our squad,” Staffeld said.
“Landon, I don’t think he has missed a minute of play (all year). He’s an ox. So solid and so thick and just a great player,” Staffeld added. “I’ll be sad to see him go.”
“Brandon is so young, but so talented,” Baer said of his team mate. “He is always going to be a weapon for us. I’m always trying to be at the right spot and I like to be that person who can add a spark to our team.”
Helping the Raiders cause was Mark Vennetti with two assist, while Brooks Thomas and Cole Frank each added one.
The Raiders who improved to 15-3 on the season will now play Wednesday night in Ravanna in regional play.