VINCENT - After Warren rallied to defeat visiting Marietta 2-1 in overtime in a boys' soccer sectional final last Saturday, Andrew Johnson talked about the togetherness of his team.
"This is a game where you need those glue players," said the second-year Warriors' head coach, whose royal blue and white booters are scheduled to play Lancaster Fairfield Union in a Division 2 district semifinal match at Lucasville Valley High at 7 p.m. tonight.
"Those two goals tonight (Saturday) were by glue players - (Eli) Duff and (Evan) Yabs," continued Johnson. "They're just both strong, solid kids. They're just good players."
MIKE MILLER Special to The Times
Warren’s Nick Koch, left, and Eli Duff (21) surround Marietta keeper Eric Pierce (orange) in the goal mouth during sectional final action at Warren High Saturday. The Warriors are hoping to do more of the same when they play Fairfield Union in a district semifinal at Valley High tonight.
Good glue players.
Every team needs them if it is going to be successful.
Glue players are instrumental in a team's play on the pitch with their grit, hustle, and willingness to do the little things that complement the stars.
"Star players are going to cancel each other out as you get higher and higher up," Johnson said. "You just need those glue players to come up big."
Duff, a 6-foot-2 senior striker, came up big when he scored the equalizer with 17 minutes and 32 seconds remaining in the match. Up until that time, Warren had outshot Marietta by a considerable margin but had nothing to show for it and trailed 1-0.
With Duff's goal, which he put into the back of the net after the ball bounced off the keeper, it became a brand new ballgame.
That Duff got the tying score probably wasn't too surprising. Earlier, during regular-season play on Sept. 27 in Vincent, he had a hat trick in Warren's 5-2 win over the Tigers.
Duff is also a standout pole vaulter on Warren's track and field squad.
"If every player on the team had a heart that Eli Duff has, we might not ever lose a game," Johnson said. "He'll give everything for me."
And, so will Yabs, another senior.
A defensive mid, Yabs capped the Warriors' comeback against Marietta with a goal early in the extra session. Not too shabby for a player, who mostly marks opposing forwards.
"My first three years in high school, I played defense," Yabs said. "This year, I've kind of moved into the defensive mid, but I can still go up whenever we need it.
"We kept battling and got the win, and that's all that matters."
Now, Warren, the defending district champion and No. 2 seed with a 12-2-4 overall record, will be squaring off against top-seeded Fairfield Union.
The Warriors' other probable starters may be keeper Cody Stanley, Sam Goodman, Ben Koch, Wyatt lynch, Aaron Mazurkiewicz, Nathan Robinson, Nick Robinson, Nick Koch, and Ty Kroner.
The Shane Perdew-coached Falcons advanced with a 3-0 triumph over Washington Court House in a sectional final in Rushville, also on Saturday.
Fairfield Union got goals from senior Josh Hicks, senior Richard Manley, and junior John Schmeizer. Manley also had an assist in the match.
The Falcons attempted 32 shots against the Lions, of which 16 were on the frame.
The Falcon defense is anchored by keeper Zach Hultz and senior Cory Kopis.
The Warren-Fairfield Union winner will advance and play either Waverly or Circleville in a district final at Valley at 4 p.m. Saturday.
"Moving on," said Johnson after Saturday's sectional final. "I'm happy. Two years in a row to get out of sectional, that's a big deal for Warren High School. This might be the fourth time ever maybe to get that far.
"My boys worked hard for me. They gave everything they had. I'm just happy for everybody, the community and everything."