CENTENARY, Ohio — This time, the Blue Devils couldn’t stage a comeback bid against a former Southeastern Ohio Athletic League foe.
That’s because, on Tuesday night, the host Gallia Academy High School soccer squad fell behind against undefeated Athens in the first half — and was unable to mount a rally effort in the second.
The Bulldogs built a pair of early three-goal leads — and eventually defeated the Blue Devils 6-2 in a non-league tilt at Gallia Academy High School’s Lester Field.
The contest marked the home opener for the Blue Devils, which dropped their season opener at Alexander by a count of 4-3.
Athens improved to 4-0 with the win — as all of the scoring on Tuesday took place in the opening half.
Both Alexander and Athens are associate members of the lameduck SEOAL in boys soccer, as Gallia Academy opted out of the league in favor of the expanded Ohio Valley Conference.
Against Alexander, and in similar fashion, the Blue Devils fell behind 3-0 and 4-1 — before losing 4-3 and despite some missed opportunities to tie the match in the final 20 minutes.
Against Athens, Gallia Academy once again got behind 3-0 and 4-1, but the closest it came this time was a 4-2 deficit — before the Bulldogs scored twice within a minute.
Like the Blue Devils did against the Spartans, they quickly fell behind 3-0.
Athens senior striker Taylor Scott scored twice in the opening nine minutes and 19 seconds — including off an assist by Nick Bohuslawsky only three minutes and 13 seconds in.
At the 27:12 mark, Justin Goetz scored the first of his two goals off an assist by Jefferson Berryman, then recorded his second marker with 22-and-a-half minutes left — off an assist by Jack Sweeney.
In between, and sandwiched around, Goetz’s goals were Gallia Academy’s two goals by senior forward Isaiah Lester.
Lester scored with 25 minutes left and again with 17:51 to play, as Pedro Carraschal and Madi Oiler assisted.
But Scott scored again after an Athens corner kick with three minutes left, followed by an own goal only 58 seconds later.
Scott’s hat trick of tallies was three of Athens’ 23 total shots, compared to only 10 for the Blue Devils.
Lester — who now has all five of Gallia Academy’s goals this season — shot six times, as the hosts only had one corner kick.
After Athens’ opening two goals, the Blue Devil coaching staff switched goalkeepers for a while, replacing starter Andrew Toler with Ben Rutherford.
Toler returned in net in the second half, and was credited with seven saves while Rutherford finished with three.
The Blue Devils do return home, and open OVC action, tonight (Thursday, Sept. 1) against Chesapeake.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106