Ida beats Flat Rock to enter the district’s soccer title game

ANN ARBOR – Grantham Nelson won the ball on the sideline and headed towards goal.

He wasn’t going to let anything get in his way.

“I took the ball and ran up the sideline,” said the Ida sophomore. “I knew the defender wasn’t faster than me, so I just kept going.”

Nelson put the ball cleanly into the net for a goal of less than two minutes in the semi-finals of the Division 3 District at Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard Tuesday.

He scored another goal just over two minutes later and the Blue Streaks were well on their way to an 8-0 win over Flat Rock that earned them a spot in the District’s title game on Thursday.

Nelson wasn’t Ida’s top scorer in the game. Teammate Evan Schmitz scored three goals.

Photo gallery:Ida vs. Flat Rock in the District Semifinals

But the timing of Nelson’s goals was crucial.

Getting on the board early was important for a young Ida side that has struggled to score goals this season.

“You want to take an early lead in the district’s first game,” said Nelson. “I’m not saying you want to destroy the other team, but you want them to feel bad so they won’t come back.”

Ida trainer Tim Allen agreed with Nelson’s assessment.

“We struggled to score all year long,” he said. “That’s mainly why we fought. We’re a pretty good defensive team. If you score an early goal, you’re not so tense. “

Ida has had the best season in school history. The Blue Streaks went 12-3 in 2020 and won the Lenawee County Athletic Association with a perfect 10-0 record.

The win on Tuesday equaled their record this season with 8: 8.

“We’ve completed half of our starters (from last year),” said Nelson. “That was a year of reconstruction”

Many of Ida’s best passers-by were among the players who got lost on graduation.

“Evan and Grantham were our top two goalscorers last year,” said Allen. “We lost our most important assist guys. We didn’t have the confidence to bring the ball to them this year. It was a challenge. “

Davin Slater scored twice and Ryan Horn scored for Ida Tuesday and Asher Hamm and Cole Angerer shared the shutout in goal. Angerer and Dillon Holycross each had three assists, and Caleb Ramsey and Kaleb Mannor came up with one each.

Photo gallery:Jefferson football in the quarterfinals

“We clicked today,” said Nelson. “The ball was very fast on the grass. That was our first lawn game in the whole year. “

Ida reaches the district finals at 5 p.m. on Thursday to play against the hosting team.

Jefferson's defense, led by Gabriel Gelson and Michael Armetta (18), defends a corner kick during an 8-0 loss to Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard in the Division 3 District semi-finals at Gabriel Richard Tuesday.

Gabriel Richard eliminated Jefferson in the first semi-final on Tuesday 8-0.

The season ended with identical results for Flat Rock and Jefferson, but both coaches see bright future for their programs.

“We’re a young team,” said Flat Rock trainer Sean Sturgeon, whose team ended at 3:15. “We have a lot of first graders. We are a development team. We will be a team that can also be expected in the future. “

Jefferson’s Rob Kull sees his team the same way.

“You’re number 14 in the state,” he said of Richard. “You spent a good part of the game without goals. They were a better team than us. There’s no shame in losing to them. I liked our hectic pace. “

Sturgeon and Kull use similar strategies to bring talent into their programs. You recruit athletes from other sports.

Jefferson, who finished 5-13-1, has three basketball players and four wrestlers on his roster.

“This is our best record in about 10 years,” said Kull. “I had 10 boys the week before the season, then 12 when the season started. We finished at 17. The boys did a good job recruiting their friends. “

Sturgeon praised newcomer Mitchell Smith, who led the Rams by 9 goals, and goalkeeper Grady Baker.

“I definitely see a bright future,” he said. “The boys really got together.”

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