QUINCY — Ethan Holke never lost control of the possession or the play, but the touch the Geneseo midfielder made to give him separation from the Quincy High School boys soccer team’s last line of defense also triggered something in Frank Heck’s mind.
The junior goalkeeper figured he could win a race to the ball.
So as Holke darted toward the goal from the right wing, Heck charged off his line and took the ball off Holke’s foot, knocking it out of bounds in the final minute of the first half of Tuesday night’s Western Big Six Conference game at Flinn Stadium.
By keeping the game scoreless, Heck gave the Blue Devils the confidence and momentum needed to grind out a 2-0 victory and stay unbeaten in WB6 play.
“It’s when he takes too big of touch, when it’s more than two steps in front of him,” Heck said. “His first touch was huge. I was way in front of him way too far. So I came off my line and made the save.”
It just might have saved a title run.
An unenergetic first half in which the Blue Devils squandered a couple scoring chances and dodged a couple bullets defensively forced Quincy (8-5-2, 5-0 WB6) to make adjustments.
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Specifically, the Blue Devils talked about changing their pace.
“Our work ethic,” Heck said. “Our work ethic in the first half was very bad. We came out without communication, but we started marking the through balls and working harder and that’s how it got better.”
There were still some momentary scares.
Six minutes into the second half, Geneseo midfielder Jordan Seeley gained possession in the middle of the field about 35 yards out and rattled a shot off the crossbar that would have given the Maple Leafs the lead.
“He struck that really well,” QHS coach Ron Bridal said.
A couple minutes later, the Blue Devils put together their own charge and got a net result. Senior midfielder Jack Bartley carried from the midfield to the right wing and slid a pass forward for Bromley Brown, who corralled it along the endline and drew the keeper out of the goal.
Brown’s pass across the goal mouth hit a defender and went into the net for an own goal that gave the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute.
“We got behind their back line and put a great ball across the box,” Bridal said. “If they didn’t score the own goal, we certainly would have. When you start talking about getting behind their back line to create havoc, that’s what happens.”
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