Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Gray Collegiate routs Red Devils

Collin Martin had a hat trick as the Gray College War Eagles shut out the Wade Hampton Red Devils 6-nil Wednesday, May 4 in the second round of the 2A boys soccer playoffs.

“Our energy and attitude was different in the second half,” Gray Collegiate head coach Kevin Heise said. “We had a poor first half. Sometimes when you have break from the regular season to the postseason, there’s a lot to be said for playing that first-round game. We had a bye. Sometimes it’s good to play that game, get your feet wet. I thought we came out a little bit flat, a little tense. It probably wasn’t coming as easy for us as we wanted it to. It’s one of those things you have to work your way through. We have a veteran team. I expected us at some point to turn it on. And we didn’t until halftime. Finally at halftime, we were able to get it together a little bit and challenge them a little bit. They set the tone in the first three minutes of the second half. We got a goal out of it. Once we reached that energy level we were ok.”

Martin got the War Eagles on the board in the 14th minute when he carried the ball down the left sideline and blasted a shot to the back of the net for a 1-nil lead.

The score held up until the 32nd minute when JT Gardner lofted a free kick past Wade Hampton keeper Hezekiah Abram for a 2-nil halftime lead.

While Gray Collegiate was ahead, Heise was not particularly happy with his team’s effort. That changed in the second half.

Martin blasted a goal in the 43rd minute to increase the War Eagle lead to 3-nil.

Ten minutes later, he completed the hat trick sending a header screaming to the back of the net as Gray’s lead reached 4-nil.

“Collin had a big game. He’s been a bit snake bitten this year,” Heise said. “He’s come so close to scoring and all season long. He should probably have triple the number of goals he’s got. He’s put himself in good position; he just hasn’t been able to finish consistently enough. Today it all came together for him. He picked a great time to do that.”

Then it was Jonathan Coonce’s opportunity to score, which he did in the 65th minute when he got past Abram and scored on an open net for a 5-nil lead.

Asher Lewis added a goal in the 68th minute for the final count.

The War Eagles followed the second round win with a 3-nil victory against Buford in the quarterfinals and a 3-2 win in penalty kicks against Andrew Jackson in the semifinals.

Gray Collegiate advances to its first 2A boys soccer state championship game. The War Eagles will take on the Christ Church Cavaliers Saturday, May 14 around 2 p. m. at Irmo High School.

The Cavaliers defeated the Saluda Tigers 5-nil in the 2A lower state championship.

Christ Church defeated Gray Collegiate 1-nil in last year’s 2A upper state championship.

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