After winning the state championship 2-1 in a fierce battle with Massillon Jackson at Crew Stadium in Columbus, the Wildcats presented the trophy to their coach, Terry Smith, who is fighting a battle of his own.
Smith was diagnosed with prostate cancer after the 2006 season, but hasn’t allowed his illness to interfere with his team’s ultimate goal of winning a state crown.
“He’s a tremendous inspiration,” senior forward Jon Reasoner said of his coach. “It puts this in perspective. We’re out here playing a game and he’s fighting everyday of his life. We’re just glad that we could finally win him one.”
“I’m really proud, I’m overjoyed,” Smith said. “This helps with all the things that I’ve been going through. The kids said they were playing for me, and I told them I don’t them to play for me, play for your selves.
“I just try to teach them how to play for themselves, to try and fight through things just like I’ve been fighting. They picked up on that and they did it for themselves today. They brought it for the community. It’s been a long time coming.”
Senior forward Colby Catlett has grown accustomed to winning state titles at Davidson.
As a junior last year, Catlett was the football team’s kicker and punter on its way to winning the Division I state crown, capped by a 36-35 double overtime win against Mentor in the title game.
On Friday, Catlett capped a brilliant scholastic soccer career by scoring a goal and assisting on another to power the Wildcats.
Catlett’s goal gave his team a 2-0 lead in the first half, an advantage it never relinquished.
“This is definitely a dream come true,” Catlett said. “I’ve been putting a lot of hard work growing up playing soccer my whole life. This is an amazing experience right now.
“Soccer is a little more special, but it’s unbelievable to accomplish Division I state titles in any sport.”
Davidson earned the program’s first state title and closes out the season at 18-2-2.
Massillon Jackson finishes at 18-2-3.
The Wildcats opened the scoring when Catlett fed a pass to Reasoner, who split the defense and slipped a shot past keeper John Brubach with 24:00 remaining in the first half.
Davidson opened a 2-0 advantage nine minutes later as Catlett scored on a pretty pass from Cody St. Clair.
The Wildcats had a chance to add to their lead early in the second half when Catlett was awarded a penalty kick after being tackled in the box. Brubach, however, made a brilliant diving save to keep his team within striking distance.
“I think that’s what we needed, we needed a spark to get us going,” Jackson coach Michael Biros said. “I think that gave us new life. If they score there that would obviously be a huge hole to come back from. It was a great save.”
The save helped Jackson gain some needed momentum, leading to Evan McCreary’s goal with 28:34 remaining. Dustin Kiaski assisted.
Davidson, however, managed to regain control on its way to the coveted crown.
Wildcat goalie Steven Fitzpatrick was forced to make just one save.
Brubach turned away four shots, and his team was out-shot 11-7.
“I thought we played very well tonight,” Biros said. “Those were two very uncharacteristic goals that we gave up through the middle. I don’t think we’ve given up a goal like that all year. You have to credit Hilliard’s forwards. They were tough. I think we met our match up on the back line.”
Davidson earned a berth in the title game following a 3-0 win against Cincinnati Elder in the state semifinals.
“I have tears of joy, accomplishment,” Smith said. “It’s just a joyous feeling to finally get to this point. As I’ve said all season, we’ve had one goal, one goal in mind and that was to win the state championship, and the best thing for this is that we’ve been pushing the same motto of we’re not done and we’re not finished, and we finally finished it today. We finally took care of it.”
The Polar Bears reached the state final four after winning a controversial game against Mentor in the regional finals. Mentor won the game on the field by shootout 1-0, but was later forced to forfeit the game after it was ruled it had used two illegal players. Jackson eventually defeated Sylvania Northview 1-0 in overtime in the other semifinal.
“The kids came out to play,” Smith said. “It was great to see. I thought we played a good game. Controversy aside, they came out and played a game of soccer. Everybody was treated to a great game.”