Daniel Boone’s Cooper Duffie stretches for the ball at Cedar Crest High School in South Lebanon on Thursday, October 27, 2016. KIRK NEIDERMYER | PA Prep Live
LEBANON >> Never is a long time.
Daniel Boone erased “never” from its boys’ soccer history Thursday night at Cedar Crest High School, when the Blazers scored four goals in the opening 20 minutes to defeat Manheim Central 4-1 in a District 3 Class AAA quarterfinal.
Daniel Boone (13-7) had never qualified for a district semifinal prior to Thursday night’s result in the 28-year history of the varsity soccer program. With the victory over the Barons also came the program’s first PIAA berth. The top four finishers in AAA from D-3 qualify — Boone assured itself that milestone by running Manheim Central ragged for the first 20 and all but clinching that reality as the first half drew to close.
Boone will face unbeaten behemoth Lower Dauphin (22-0) — 4-0 winners over Greencastle-Antrim — in the AAA semifinal on Monday, at a site and time to be determined. But that’s next week. For the moment, it was a time of celebration on the Crest sidelines for a history-making achievement.
“It feels great,” Boone head coach Matt Kade said. “We knew with the new classifications we could compete with teams our size. We gave ourselves a strong schedule to give ourselves a high seed this year and we knew we were capable of making a run.”
Kade was referring to a playoff run, but what his Blazers did during that pivotal first 20 minutes was make consistently strong runs through the Barons’ central defense. Midfielder Greg Blume played a sublime match by perfectly weighting several thru balls to forwards Ayoub Mouhou and Jaimie Burns, the latter of whom came into Thursday’s match with 24 goals. The Moroccan-born Mouhou tallied a brace in the opening 10 minutes before Burns joined him in that department. And that was that.
A saturated artificial track at Cedar Crest on a soggy night was beneficial to his playmaking success, Blume said.
“The rain helped,” Blume said. “You can put less spin on the ball. It’s gonna carry. You can kick it softer, you can aim it better. You can find targets all day in the rain.
“Once we got a rhythm, we were really feeling it and playing to our full potential and we just kept going.”
Blume picked up three markers before departing in the 68th minute after bruising his left knee. It was wrapped in ice after the game, but Blume said he “absolutely” will play in Monday’s semifinal against LD.
Mouhou, who emigrated from Morocco this summer, got Boone on the board just 2:14 into the match with an unassisted solid strike from 20 yards out, left to right, that beat Manheim Central keeper Mason Nissley cleanly to the lower far post. Seven minutes later, Mouhou doubled his output with a second goal, this one from 15 yards away, right to left.
“My team, we were hyped for this game,” Mouhou said. “We wanted to go to states. And we’re going to states now.
“The key was possession. We kept the ball for like, 30 minutes (in the first half). We got shots and we scored.”
Burn’s made it 3-0 at 16:30 on Blume’s second assist, then polished off a superb opening 20 with a fourth tally at 19:55, on his middie’s third helper. After that the Blazers pulled back a bit, relaxing what had been an aggressive high line.
Manheim Central finally got on the board with 6:46 to play when Kale Landis drove home a rebound off an initial diving save by Boone keeper Stephen Williams to ruin the clean sheet, but it came far too late.
The night belonged to history.