Hollywood couldn’t have written a better ending to the Greenon High School boys soccer team’s regular season finale.
The Knights entered the match against Fairbanks needing a victory to secure their first Ohio Heritage Conference title in their second year in the league. Greenon led 1-0 until Fairbanks tied the game with about 20 minutes remaining. As the seconds ticked away, the Knights needed a spark, senior goalkeeper Drew Conover said.
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That’s when Trent Green worked his magic. With the ball bouncing around the midfield, Masonn Hayslip played a ball the Panthers defenders to the feet of Green, who smashed the ball into the corner of the net with 6 seconds remaining.
“It was beautiful,” Conover said.
Conover fell to his knees and cried tears of joy, he said. The Knights played in a similar game two years ago – their last in the CBC Mad River Division – and lost to Benjamin Logan 1-0
“It meant a lot for myself and the other seniors,” he said. “It was just amazing. Trent is an amazing player. The guys who got him the ball, (Masonn Hayslip, Will Spahr, Cameron Patterson) are all amazing players.”
It was a first for Greenon coach Jeff Nickles, who has coached the team for 14 seasons.
“It was more exciting than I wanted it to be, but in the end, a win is a win on paper,” he said. “Trent Green scoring a goal to win the OHC title, it was fitting that he would be the guy to do it.”
The Knights have won 13 straight after beating Brookville 3-0 in a Division III, Dayton 3 second round sectional match on Thursday. They’ll play Waynesville (12-2-1) in a sectional final game at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Beavercreek High School.
Green scored two goals in tournaments wins over Preble Shawnee and Brookville to increase his season total to 21
The Knights started the season 2-2 and took an eye-opening 4-0 loss to Greeneview at home on Aug. 30, Nickles said.
“We went back to practice that week and let our seniors lead and talked about what we wanted to do better,” he said. “It’s been like a snowball ever since. You get three or four under your belt … and then all of a sudden your confidence level goes through the roof. We have 20 guys seeing playing time this season. It been years since we’ve had that.”
They haven’t lost since, including back-to-back 2-1 victories at West Liberty-Salem and Fairbanks to end the season. The Knights had circled the game against West Liberty early in the season, Nickles said. It became even bigger as both teams continued to wrack up wins, he said.
“It was sort of the litmus test, showing we are ready to play against some of the more competitive teams,” Nickles said.
The OHC has been tough since the Knights joined the league, Conover said. The championship will lead to more success in the future, Conover said.
“If you lose once, it’s tough to recover,” Conover said. “It means a ton (to win the league title). Next year and the year after, I know this team is going to stay competitive.”
The championship was the program’s first since 2012, Nickles said.
“We’ve come in second an awful lot and that’s a nasty feeling,” he said. “I’m glad we finally came out on top.”