PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - Coach Jonathan Hammond and his Arnold boys soccer team's now the first boys team in Bay County to be preparing for a state semifinal match. A 3-A semi in fact they will host Saturday night at Gavlak.
That in the wake of this region final win last night over visiting Ridgeview.
A great effort in goal by Javoughn Morris, especially with these two saves in the first half to keep the match scoreless.
It remained scoreless at the end of regulation and then after two overtime periods, so they went to penalty kicks. Arnold connecting on their first three kicks, Kearns and Gandy the second and third of those three.
So when Jose Lopez lined up and hit his PK, it was over, Arnold winning on penalty kicks 4-2, and moving into the state's final four, two wins away from first ever state championship. The first of those will have to come Saturday night, at home, against Seabreeze out of Daytona Beach.
"We're super excited right now," Jose Lopez, Arnold soccer senior said. "We feel like we can get the state championship. The way we played last night, i mean we're feeling good like we can do it."
"Just win this next one, luckily we get to play at home, which is I don't know how it's happened for us this season, but every game we've got to play at home,' Jonathan Hammond, Arnold boys soccer coach said. "So it's a huge advantage I believe for us. You don't have to travel, so they have to travel 7 hours. And then kind of get out of the car. They asked if they could sleep in our gym before the game. So we're at home, you know we're not worried."
To say the least, this is a big deal for high school soccer in Bay County, and at Arnold.
The team spent Thursday preparing, but again, not on the field.
"The mental preparation starts with yoga," Hammond said. "You know we kind of get to relax after a wild game last night and there's one move they do where thye just kind of lay down and it's not even really a yoga move you would say. They close their eyes and relax and kind of replay the games in their minds. We're doing that, we're also doing a film study here shortly to see the mistakes we made last night and make corrections on those."
Again hosts Seabreeze Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Gavlak.