Pats burst into playoffs with 9-2 win over Bosse

Photos by Nic Antaya/The Herald
Heritage Hills' Gannon Staggs celebrates after scoring a goal during Monday's sectional game against Evansville Bosse in Lincoln City. Heritage Hills defeated Evansville Bosse 9-2 in the sectional opener as Staggs finished with a hat trick in the victory. The Patriots will face Evansville Memorial in the semifinal on Wednesday.


LINCOLN CITY — The Heritage Hills boys soccer team burst onto the the playoff scene last night and did so in style. The Patriots took the momentum they had built up toward the end of the regular season and used it to defeat the Evansville Bosse Bulldogs 9-2 to open sectional play, setting up a Wednesday night showdown with the Evansville Memorial Tigers.

Heritage Hills coach Joe Asbury was proud of the way his boys conducted themselves on the field Monday night in the face of an attacking Bosse team which fought them for the ball all night long. The Tigers made it difficult for the Patriots to get into their groove and play their normal possession game, but once they eventually settled down once they found the goal a couple of times early.

“We were expecting Bosse to play hard and wanted to move the ball around and chase us a little bit,” said Asbury. “It’s nice to get that first win under your belt in a sectional atmosphere.”

Bosse was indeed aggressive in the early going, doing everything they could to take swipes at the ball and interfere with the passing lanes of Heritage Hills. Feet got entangled and bodies hit the grass every once in awhile, but the Bulldogs’ efforts only went so far in terms of slowing down the Patriots.

Senior Luke Leffert was the first man to crack the scoreboard, as he came in to clean up after a score attempt by fellow senior Harrison Carpenter, who’s shot attempt bounced off of the crossbar into the active feet of Leffert. Gannon Staggs would strike two quick times shortly after that to give Heritage Hills an early 3-0 advantage.

The seniors wouldn’t be the ones to do all of the heavy lifting on Monday night as Zach Fortune zipped his way towards Bosse’s goal and nailed a strike to give Heritage Hills a four-goal lead with 15 minutes left in the opening half. Bulldogs junior Jonathan Rodriquez Zavala took to the open field and scored a goal to put some fight back into his team, but Fortune favored the Pats as he scored quickly afterward Zavala’s goal to keep the momentum on the side of Big Blue.

Pretty soon it became clear that the hard-charging Bulldogs would not be able to disrupt the Patriots. While their efforts did manage to cause turnovers and make it difficult for the Pats to move up the field at times, Bosse simply lacked the necessary firepower to keep even with Heritage Hills.

After Staggs scored his third goal about 20 minutes into the second half, Asbury pulled his starters from the game and sent out his reserves to finish things off, which they did to the tune of three more goals to seal the win.

Heritage Hills' Carson Leibering jokes around while wearing a gold chain, which is given to a player who is named the "man of the match" after Monday's sectional game against Evansville Bosse in Lincoln City. Heritage Hills' head coach Joe Asbury said the chain is given to a new player each week to acknowledge those who step up physically in the game.

Staggs finished with a triplet of scores for the Pats, while Fortune pocketed a pair of goals for Heritage Hills in the win. Zavala scored both of Bosse’s goals.

“It felt pretty good,” said Staggs. “The whole team showed up. We didn’t mess around like we could have done. We’ve had a few slip ups where we did that, but we showed up tonight.”

“It felt like we really played as a team,” added Fortune. “We really showed hard work and dedication. Can’t wait for Memorial on Wednesday night.”

Both players said the team is playing with a high level of synergy right now, as everyone is playing sharp with their passes and making the most of the opportunities they see during the course of a game. The Pats are cognizant of the weight of all of their actions and how they play now that the games are one-and-done, and want to do everything possible to extend their run in sectional.

“We’re just starting to play as a team and work to put it in the back of the net,” said Fortune. “On Wednesday we need to keep our mindset that (Memorial) is going to be really good competition. We really need to keep our minds in the game.”

Asbury said there’s always things the team could improve on and sharpen up so the next game can better than the last, but he likes the way everyone on the team is stepping up and they seem to be peaking at the right time for the greatest effect. He doesn’t want to overcoach the boys at this point, as he believes what the team needs right now is the encouragement and support of the coaching staff as they move onto their second-round game against Memorial.

“We’ve got a nice team and we want to feel good about that going into Wednesday,” said Asbury. “We’re hoping that our kids play loose and have fun. If everyone plays their best, maybe we can keep close and have a shot.”

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