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Boujoukos’ counter-attack counts as Radnor’s district title winner

EAST WHITELAND >> When he plays on the wing, Radnor’s Andrew Boujoukos isn’t exactly a speed merchant.

When he saw Jack Miller turn a Holy Ghost Prep defender inside out and strip the ball 60 yards from the goal with acres of green space ahead of him, however, Boujoukos bolted.

He didn’t stop until the ball had ruffled the back of the net.

Miller and Boujoukos executed an unholy counterattack in the first overtime session Saturday, handing the Raiders a 2-1 win over the top-seeded Firebirds in the District 1 Class 3A championship at Great Valley.

Radnor's Andrew Boujoukos, right, and Ryan Peter celebrate the former's game-winning goal in overtime past Holy Ghost Prep goalkeeper Harry Scuron as Radnor claimed the District 1 Class 3A title, 2-1. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

Radnor’s Andrew Boujoukos, right, and Ryan Peter celebrate the former’s game-winning goal in overtime past Holy Ghost Prep goalkeeper Harry Scuron as Radnor claimed the District 1 Class 3A title, 2-1. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

“I just knew, there was only two minutes left in the first overtime, and getting down the field was the only thing I had to do,” Boujoukos said. “Jack Miller was either going to shoot it and I had to get the rebound, or he was going to pass it, and I knew I was going to be ready to shoot that ball.”

Boujoukos’s goal in the 93rd minute owed greatly to Miller’s dogged work. After a Holy Ghost free kick was cleared, Miller was the high man stranded against two defenders. He picked the pocket of the first, then forced the other into a choice: Stick Miller or attend to Boujoukos streaming up the right channel.

Miller placed his feed where only Boujoukos could catch up to it, poking it past a sliding Harry Scuron and setting off the Raiders’ celebrations.

The win moves Radnor (13-7-1) into a date with Fleetwood, the fourth seed from District 3 in Tuesday’s first round of the PIAA Class 3A Tournament.

Though less controversial, Boujoukos’s goal mirrored the determination of Radnor’s equalizer, a trademark Phil Regan grinder goal where the defender-turned-forward made enough contact with Scuron to warrant a Holy Ghost assistant earning a red card for his protests.

PHOTO GALLERY: Radnor vs. Holy Ghost Prep

Off a high-bounding ball, Regan and Scuron leapt for a 50-50 ball near the penalty spot. Scuron got his hands to it, but dropped it after contact with some combination of Regan and a Holy Ghost teammate. It was the kind of collision in the gray area defined by the special (and unofficial) protection afforded only to goalies. The whistles remained silent, and in quick succession, Regan and David Azzarano had shots blocked.

Radnor’s Jack Miller, right, takes the ball away from Holy Ghost’s Ryan Danastorg and starts a break that would result in a winning goal in overtime by Andrew Boujoukos, lifting Radnor to a District 1 championship Saturday night at Great Valley High School. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

Radnor’s Jack Miller, right, takes the ball away from Holy Ghost’s Ryan Danastorg and starts a break that would result in a winning goal in overtime by Andrew Boujoukos, lifting Radnor to a District 1 championship Saturday night at Great Valley High School. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

But Regan — the “quick, out-of-control guy,” in his words, that coach Joe Caruolo turns to when he needs a goal — found the ball and pounded it into the waiting cage.

“I just knew I needed to provide energy right off the bat,” Regan said. “That was the first opportunity I had to make a run. I saw the ball bouncing, I was fearless and went up for it. Next thing I know the ball is right next to me and I just kicked it in.”

Despite the bench’s protests, the goal stood, pegging back a Ryan French tally in the 44th minute.

But the final result reflected the overall balance of play. Radnor dominated the first half, unfortunate not to carry a lead into the break. The Firebirds (14-6-1) stormed out of halftime, and within four minutes were ahead via French, who tucked away a cross played into the box by outside back Alex Rubinstein that pinballed to him. That avenue of attack via the wings was Holy Ghost’s most fruitful.

“Our best power is from our midfield to the outside and across the face to get to the goal,” French said. “I think we did that well tonight.”

Regan struck back, and Radnor had the best chance to end it in regulation when Cal Hanson’s glancing near-post header of a corner kick struck the crossbar above a beaten Scuron.

But as has been the Raiders’ postseason destiny, they required overtime for a third consecutive game. The Raiders beat Phoenixville in PKs in the quarters after Regan’s last-minute equalizer, then topped Bishop Shanahan in overtime in the semis via a Ryan Peter tally.

“This team has grown to have a ton of confidence, a ton of composure,” Regan said. “When we’re down, no one feels that they’re in any bit losing this game. This team has a special ability to stay in the fight and pick up wins.”

Holy Ghost Prep's Ryan Danastorg, left, tries to edge out Radnor's Andrew Boujoukos Saturday. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

Holy Ghost Prep’s Ryan Danastorg, left, tries to edge out Radnor’s Andrew Boujoukos Saturday. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

“(Goalie Ben) Toomey says in the huddle every single time, ‘Let’s get a goal in the first overtime,’ not the second overtime or PKs,” Boujoukos said. “Let’s get it in play.”

Holy Ghost grabbed the first chance of extra time four minutes in when forward Connor Fife rose for a header, but fullback Miles Maesaka was stationed at the far post and dutifully booted it off the line.

“The world kind of just stopped,” Maesaka said. “I saw the ball on the line, and I just kicked it off. …It was like floating on the line. I just reacted and slapped at it and kicked it out.”

Toomey made four saves, including a massive sliding denial of Fife minutes after French’s goal. Scuron was the busier of the netminders with nine saves. But Boujoukos and the Raiders had the final say, adding a little hardware to a trove of memories they’ve accumulated this postseason.

“It means so much, especially for guys that have been on varsity for three years,” Maesaka said. “We’ve been out in the first round four years in a row, since I’ve been here. So this is one of the best experiences of my high school career.”

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