Massillon Jackson makes most of second chance

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Mass. Jackson 1, Sy. Northview 0
Massillon Jackson was given new life thanks to a decision by the OHSAA and the Polar Bears took full
advantage of the opportunity. Jackson beat Sylvania Northview, 1-0, in
overtime Wednesday in a Division I boys soccer state semifinal at
Findlay. The Polar Bears face Hilliard Davidson in the state final Friday at 7 p.m. at Crew Stadium in Columbus. A little over 24 hours before its state semi win, Jackson thought its season was over.


FINDLAY – Massillon Jackson was given new life thanks to a decision by the Ohio High School Athletic Association and the Polar Bears took full advantage of the opportunity. Jackson beat Sylvania Northview, 1-0, in overtime Wednesday in a Division I boys soccer state semifinal at Findlay High School.

The Polar Bears face Hilliard Davidson in the state final Friday at 7 p.m. at Crew Stadium in Columbus.

A little over 24 hours before its state semifinal win, Jackson thought its season was over.

The Polar Bears lost to Mentor 4-2 in the regional final on Saturday but the OHSAA ruled two Mentor players ineligible on Tuesday and paved the way for the Polar Bears. Jackson found out about the decision at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, less than three hours before the scheduled state semi between Mentor and Northview. Northview was already on a bus headed to Solon, where the regional final was to be played, and had to turn around. The round trip was 270 miles.

Mentor filed a lawsuit in Franklin County over the OHSAA’s decision but the injunction was thrown out by the judge, who did hear arguments. A ruling against Mentor was made at 6 p.m., just 60 minutes before the start of the Northview-Jackson state semifinal.

Despite being outplayed for most of the game by Northview, Jackson was determined not to allow their new found life to go for naught.

In the closing minutes of the first overtime Massillon’s Steve Gilbert snuck in a little chip shot past Northview goalie Tyler Puhl to keep Jackson’s improbable state title drive alive.

The Wildcats forced the play most of the game but could not find a way to get the ball past Jackson goalie John Brubach. Time after time the Wildcats would aggressively advance the ball toward the Polar Bear net only to be frustrated by the Jackson defense.

The winning goal was not a thing of beauty but rather the result of some congestion in front of the Northview net. The ball was bouncing among a group of several players from both teams and, when the Northview defenders could not clear the ball, Jackson’s Steve Gilbert, left-footed the ball into the net.

Jackson (18-1-3) becomes the first Stark County soccer team to play for a state championship since Canal Fulton Northwest did it in Division II in 1998. The Indians lost to Kettering Alter.

Northview ends its season with a 20-4 record.

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