First-round Northeast Florida soccer playoffs: Bolles, Bishop Kenny, Beachside advance
Creekside's playoff charge ran into a dose of Lake County lightning.
Gabriel Perez scored all three goals for Clermont East Ridge (15-3-1), eliminating Creekside 3-0 in Wednesday night's Florida High School Athletic Association Region 1-7A boys soccer quarterfinal.
"It was very important for the team, and I'm very happy to go to the next round," the senior said.
In a joust of Knights that included Creekside signs proclaiming the field as the "Castle of Doom," the elusive Perez proved to be East Ridge's midfielder in shining armor.
He finished off a crisp shot to the corner after an attack down the left in the 26th minute, tallied his second five minutes from halftime and completed his hat trick with a 63rd-minute penalty after fleet-footed striker Amir Taylor went down in the box.
Both teams spent the last 45 minutes with 10 players after an off-the-ball incident at a free kick. Officials conferred and pulled out red cards for Creekside defender Luc Oliver and East Ridge top scorer Rafael Enriquez amid protests from both squads. Moments later, Perez — whose only previous multi-goal game was Nov. 7 against Edgewater — delivered his second of the night.
Center backs Charles Barth and Jackson Sandoval commanded a resolute East Ridge defense that held Creekside (15-4-1) in check.
Meanwhile, the unbeaten run of Class 7A No. 1 Mandarin came to a stunning end with a 2-1 loss in the playoff opener against eighth-seeded Timber Creek (15-3-1). The Orlando visitors scored in each half to end the Mustangs' year at 18-1-1.
Fast and physical from the opening whistle, Lake Mary repeatedly and relentlessly breached Bartram Trail's typically dominant defense. Blair Dorman completed a hat trick in 50 minutes, and John McGarry bagged a brace as the host Rams eliminated the second-seeded Bears 5-1. Bartram Trail, which lost only one game prior to January and went unbeaten against fellow St. Johns County schools, ends the season with a 12-4-1 record.
Entering the night, Bartram Trail had conceded a grand total of 11 goals — and more than two in a single game on just one occasion, a 4-1 defeat to Fleming Island nearly three months ago.
"This was probably the most athletic team we played the entire season," Bartram Trail head coach Matthew Crowell said. "Granted, Lake Mary being a 7-seed is a little shocking, and I knew that coming into the game. I don't think we came mentally prepared for the game. And 3-0 is a situation we hadn't seen at half."
Lake Mary blitzed the Bears out of the first-half water break, scoring twice in the space of two minutes. McGarry polished off a quick passing combination by rifling the icebreaking goal off the far post and in, and Dorman tapped in a second after a tackle in midfield and an unselfish pass across the box by McGarry.
"Conceding that first goal, we got in our heads a little bit," senior midfielder Luke Williams said. "And they play so spread out, like we do on the attack, so if we turned the ball over they could counter really easily."
Bartram Trail nearly halved the deficit before the half-hour mark on an audacious 40-yard strike by Lionel Fresse, but Lake Mary goalkeeper Kingston Ouellette retreated and tipped it over the bar in the nick of time. Five minutes later, Dorman rattled the underside of the Bartram bar and tacked on a third goal for the Rams on a sizzling strike.
Ouellette made three saves in quick succession early in the second half, and Dorman ended all hopes of a comeback effort with his third goal of the evening.
Jason Marley prevented the shutout with an unorthodox finish in the 78th minute, bundling home a cross from Rylan Kaminski.
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No. 2-seed Gainesville survived three unanswered second-half goals from seventh-seeded Oakleaf to end the Knights' year, 4-3. Sophomore Khiende May-Parker accounted for all three Oakleaf (10-4-1) scores in what turned into a gritty thriller after halftime. Senior Isaac Gugel led the way for the Hurricanes (15-0-1) with a goal and an assist.
Daniel Brown, Dylan Fitzpatrick and Ryleigh Peyer added the other scores in a well-balanced first-half attack.
Ponte Vedra's year also ended in a road loss at Niceville, 1-0. Grant Wheeler's header off Jeremy Covington's assist in the 64th minute made the difference for Niceville (14-4-3). The Sharks close at 11-4-3.
Fleming Island also departed after one round with a 4-1 loss at Gulf Breeze (19-2-1). The Golden Eagles end with a 12-5-2 record.
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Pensacola Booker T. Washington (9-6-3) piled up three second-half goals, two from Jackson Callaway, to sail to a 4-1 win over Menendez. Alan Kudukhov scored the only goal for the Falcons (9-8-3).
The Cinderella run of St. Augustine, which stormed to a district title after winning just twice in the regular season, came to an end with a 2-0 loss at No. 1 Panama City Beach Arnold (18-0-2). Zachary Gunning and Jonah Kirspel scored to defeat the Jackets (5-11-4).
Ridgeview also departed the playoffs in the opening round, losing 3-1 to visiting Choctawhatchee (10-6-4). The Panthers close at 8-5-4.
Bishop Kenny survived an early scare to rally after halftime, winning 4-1 against visiting Panama City Bay (10-8-2). Joseph Jimenez and Cody Morgan scored two goals each after the break for second-seeded BK (13-3-3).
The Crusaders next take on Beachside, which won its first-ever playoff game in a 3-2 penalty shootout after a 1-1 end to overtime against South Walton (10-7-2). The penalty kick streak continues for the Barracudas (8-4-6), who also won last week's district title by way of the tiebreaker.
Also moving on is Yulee, which won 2-0 against Pensacola West Florida (11-9-2). Senior Sebastian Joinville struck both goals for the Hornets (16-2-1), who will next meet Wakulla.
A lightning-fast start paid off for Bolles, scoring on Max Lockett's point-blank goal after one minute and going on to a 5-2 win over Williston (15-3-2).
Will Morales scored a penalty kick after a handball and set up junior Luke Santamaria before halftime, and Bolles (9-8-2) added a pair of insurance goals in the second half thanks to Finn McEnany and junior Miles Rivera. Jamalle Wolfe scored both Red Devils goals.
Bolles' starting midfield of junior Ashton Ashchi, senior Sanders Dunn and Morales commanded possession throughout the match to earn a Saturday trip to Tallahassee Maclay.
"Those three guys have been playing together for a couple of years," Bolles coach Jim Lieb said. "All three of them do a great job for us in helping us establish the midfield, control the game and spread balls around."
Providence needed just one goal, from freshman Charles Loftin off William Osgathorpe's assist, for the 1-0 win against Ocala Trinity Catholic (11-6-3).
The Stallions, state semifinalists in 2011, ended a decade-long drought since their last regional win.
They will next host Florida High (12-9-2), after the Tallahassee school shut out Wolfson 5-0 through five different scorers. The Wolfpack end at 9-8-3.
Josh Lewis netted the only goal and goalkeeper Carter Pickett stood tall in the net for 2021 state finalist St. Johns Country Day, a 1-0 victor against Port St. Joe. The Spartans (7-5-4) stretched their winning streak to four games.
St. Johns will play Saturday in a district rematch against St. Joseph, which won 3-2 against Christ's Church (10-8). The Flashes (8-3-5) had defeated the Eagles by the same score in November.
Harvest Community made history with their first playoff win, 2-0 against host Bell (12-3-1). The Warriors (7-3-2) travel on Saturday to Tallahassee St. John Paul II.
The Gainesville Sun, Pensacola News-Journal and St. Augustine Record contributed to this story.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: High school boys soccer 2023: Jacksonville second-round playoff winners