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Lions drop two, but still have play-in game

St. Helens drops two NWOC matches to Liberty and Putnam
by: John Brewington LONG REACH—St. Helens’ Nick Dummer (15) stretches for the ball against Rex Putnam’s Dustin Lantz during last Thursday’s game.

St. Helens gave Liberty a good match on the road, and played tough against Rex Putnam at home on Thursday, but came up short in both contests.

Liberty scored twice in the first half, but it was a pretty evenly matched half,' St. Helens coach Neil Ford said. 'Max Bollweg had a couple outstanding shots on goal. We kept up during the first half, but Liberty did a good job at spacing us out and tiring us down in the second, scoring twice more.'

Luke Haresnape scored late in the second half for St. Helens with a header off a free kick taken by Kaleb Kline. Eldon Ralls was out with a knee injury, but Colin Chiddick filled in for limited minutes, coming back for his first game since a concussion.

Ford noted that St. Helens had a few yellow cards in the contest, limiting the aggressiveness of some of their defenders.

'It is important for us to focus on what we can do to be more successful on the field, slowing to the ball, opening up to give our teammates more options, and focusing on first-touch, rather than what calls the refs are making or not making,' For said.

'Tyler Copeland made the most of his time and worked hard to beat the Liberty defense. Evan Cole and Jeff Steinke played well on the wings. It's great to see players giving their all,' he added.

St. Helens played hard against Rex Putnam, but still fell to the visitors, 5-1.

'We were down 1-0 at halftime,' Ford said. 'Doug Kessinger was able to squeak one in at the end of the game off a great ball from Kaleb Kline. Jeff Steinke, Max Bollweg, and Nick Dummer all had chances on goal and the score could have been closer. It was a physcial and fun game.'

Jayvees: Liberty won, 4-2. St. Helens' goals were scored by Luis Gonzales and Tyler Walker.

Play-in Round

St. Helens is currently ranked 14th among the top 16 5A Northern Division teams. They are 26th overall.

If nothing changes by the deadline on Nov. 2, the Lions would travel to Wilson on Friday, Nov. 4 or Saturday, Nov. 5. The game most likely would be on Saturday due to a Lions' football game at home on Friday night.

Winners of the play-in games advance to the 5A state playoff bracket. The first round of that bracket is slated for Nov. 8. The brackets are seeded by OSAA rankings with the higher ranked top eight teams hosting games.

For states brackets, check the OSAA.org website under score center and then brackets.