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Karns City Rallies Past ECC to Claim D9 Class 1A Boys Soccer Title

The 2022 District 9 Class 1A boys soccer champions, the Karns City Gremlins.

BROCKWAY, Pa. – Karns City overcame an early deficit and a late Elk County Catholic flurry to earn a 2-1 win in the District 9 Class 1A boys championship game on Tuesday at Frank Varischetti Field.

It marks the third-consecutive District 9 title for the Gremlins, with the previous two coming in Class 2A.

Myles McCully scored what proved to be the game-winner for Karns City on a corner kick with 22:54 to play.

           

“I just tried to curve it around everybody and the goalie happened to hit it in so it worked out great,” McCully said.

See McCully’s full interview:

No. 4 Elk County Catholic tried frantically to tie the game and had several opportunities in the final seven minutes, including one with just under three minutes to play courtesy of Timmy Brannock. The third-seeded Gremlins were able to keep the ball out of the net, with Brannock and the ECC bench arguing for a hand ball, but to no avail.

The defense, led by keeper Luke Yasika, as well as Mallick Metcalfe, Seth Bishop, Braden Slater, and Noah Mourer, among others, were terrific after Elk County Catholic’s Anthony Messineo scored just 2:11 into the game off a header to give the Crusaders a 1-0 advantage.

“We didn’t get the start that we wanted,” said Karns City coach Justin Ryan. “Those first five minutes in a playoff game, a championship game you can be a little tight, and they got that quick one. Not the way you want to start but happy with the way the boys responded. We kind of settled things down in the first half. We were able to get one going into halftime, so I was pretty happy about that.”

Karns City’s Myles McCully (8) and ECC’s Bobby Urmann battle for possession.

Elk County Catholic’s chances were limited after that, while Karns City was able to generate a number of scoring opportunities.

Hobie Bartoe got the equalizer in the 30th minute, scoring on a rebound after ECC keeper Ryan Jovenitti deflected Jacob Callihan’s cross.

Metcalfe credited the big-game experience the Gremlins have, as well as their team-first bond for being able to rally from the early ECC strike.

           

“This group is close,” Metcalfe said. “The seniors, the juniors, and even the sophomores have played together since we were 10 years old. We just have a closeness with each other.”

See Metcalfe’s full interview here:

The Crusaders had a couple of early corner kicks in the second half, but again, it was Karns City that was able to create most of the scoring opportunities until late in the game.

Jovenitti came up big on several occasions, including on shots by McCully and Callihan early in the half before McCully’s go-ahead goal.

“We haven’t relied on just one goal-scorer this season,” Ryan said. “I knew we were going to have chances. In each game, we’ve had different people step up. I was pretty confident that if we got some chances we’d be able to find a couple of goals.”

ECC’s Lance O’Neil plays keep away from Karns City’s Jacob Callihan.

And it was Yasika who helped seal the game late for the Gremlins (17-3).

“For large portions of the game, he really wasn’t called on too much,” Ryan said. “That last ten minutes when they were trying to get one he definitely stepped up and was sure-handed back there for us.”

With the win, Karns City advances to the first round of the PIAA playoffs on Tuesday (Nov. 8) against the WPIAL runner-up (either Charleroi or Winchester Thurston).

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