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Ball gives SHS big win with clutch OT penalty kick
Lady Blue Devils fall to Lady Wolfpack
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    David Ball admitted he was nervous.
    With the match tied 1-1 and 3-3 in penalty kicks, the freshman walked the lonely walk from midfield to the penalty box with a chance to give underdog Statesboro an upset victory over Goliath Greenbrier.
    To make matters worse, Ball originally thought he’d be kicking third in the shootout lineup — but each time he strolled toward the box the referee told him it wasn’t his turn yet.
    When ball finally did approach his game-winning attempt, the official blew his whistle, having never given Ball the go-ahead to make the kick.
    Finally, after all that, with his senior teammates possibly playing their last game in Statesboro, Ball struck the ball with his right foot and watched it find the back of the net, sending the Blue Devils into jubilation.
    “It wasn’t a good one,” he said of the game-winner. “But thank God the keeper went the other way.”
    Ball’s winner was the culmination of a physical and emotional contest with no region playoff implications. The Wolfpack came in as Region 3-AAAA region champs while SHS  (7-7-0, 3-5 Region 3-AAAA) already knew it will play Wayne County Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in Jesup.
    “It’s a huge win for our program — but I’m most excited for the guys,” said Statesboro coach Chad Prosser. “It’s big for them to be able to say they beat Greenbrier.”
    Greenbrier scored first on a strike by JT Guley from just outside the box on a weak clearance by the SHS defense in the 48th minute.
    Statesboro countered immediately. In the 51st minute, Lindsey Martin sailed a shot from dead on, clanging it off the crossbar. Erick Quiterio’s rebound attempt was saved by Johnny Paletar, but Yeager Sadler was right there to stuff home the deflection.
    Neither team scored the rest of the way, nor in extra time.
    Kelechi Erondu took the first shot in penalty’s, planting the ball in the left corner of the net. Graden Bozeman countered, aiming and scoring in the same location.
    Pieter James made it 2-1 GHS, then Trent Doty tied it for SHS. That’s where the drama began.
    Stephen Maxwell made it 3-2 sending the ball just past the outstretched arms of keeper Matt Campbell. Sadler then stepped into the box, but his shot spiked off the crossbar, straight down and out.
    Hunter Norton had a chance to put it away for the Pack, but Campbell came up huge, diving to his left and gobbling up the ball.
    “I knew I had to come up big,” said Campbell. “I just picked a side and went to it — he kicked it there and that was it.”
    Martin tied it at 3 for SHS. Kyler Harden then missed, finding almost the same spot on the crossbar Sadler had hit moments ago, setting up Ball’s heroics.
    The win sent Statesboro’s six seniors, Sadler, Tehrelle Billups, Jay Brunson, Michael Campbell and Cam Randall off the pitch on a positive note after what was nothing less than an adverse season. Statesboro played on three different fields in Bulloch County while the SHS campus went through major construction.
    “I don’t think people realize what it was like,” said Prosser. “Tonight’s our ‘Senior Night’, it’s usually a big deal and we weren’t able to get that big deal for them tonight. — which I hate for them. But they’ve taken it well. They really have stepped up. They haven’t complained about that stuff. They’ve kind of been the guys that have kept people working hard because they realize that this is there last chance and they see the potential of this team.”
    The roving Devils will hit the road Tuesday, looking for revenge against a WCHS side they lost to 3-2 in the opening match of the season. A win would mean a berth in the state playoffs.

Lady Wolfpack 10, Lady Blue Devils 0
    Stormi Childs scored four goals and the Lady Wolfpack of Greenbrier beat Statesboro 10-0 Thursday at Mill Creek.
    Statesboro (3-9-2, 2-6 Region 3-AAAA) failed to generate a shot on goal and ended a tough regular season with just three seniors.
    “It’s been really hard on them and I think they would’ve liked to have had a Senior Day,” said SHS coach Andrew Hansen. “But for the most part it’s been a fun year. I think (the seniors) realized with such a young group it’s going to be a transitional year — and they’ve been very accepting of that. They’ve been very responsive in helping the younger players come along and help them improve their games.”
    A relentless Greenbrier attack scored six times in the first half, two by Childs and two by Alex Cohen. Kelsey Waechter, Mary Kate Lollar and Lindsey Hammer each added a score of their own.
    Seniors Ukachi Ugorgi, Kelly Harris and Lauren Thomas will attempt to keep their season alive when they travel to Glynn Academy on Tuesday for the first round of the region tournament. The match starts at 5 p.m.

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.