After spending a season on the edge, the Ferris boys soccer team is on the brink of something special.
After winning six of their last seven matches – each by a single goal – the Saxons are two wins away from returning to the State 4A playoffs.
“They’re a resilient group, and they push the envelope,” longtime Saxons coach Robin Crain said as his team prepares for Tuesday’s loser-out regional match against Richland.
Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. at Ferris. Win that match and the Saxons (13-2) will play Gonzaga Prep or Walla Walla on Saturday for the region’s third and final berth at state. That too would be at Ferris.
“Our players feel strongly about playing these matches at home,” Crain said.
The Saxons draw well at home, and why not: They’re playing some of the most exciting soccer in the GSL.
After losing 4-3 to Walla Walla in the regional opener last week, Ferris outlasted GSL rival Central Valley, 2-1 in overtime on a goal by LaQuan Crump.
It was the Saxons’ third overtime match of the season, the win earned in typical come-from-behind fashion: Down 1-0 after 20 minutes, Ferris equalized after halftime on a goal from McCoy Spink.
A week earlier in the regular-season finale against University, the Saxons tied the match in final minute of regulation before Liam Kelly’s overtime goal gave them a 2-1 win and an 8-1 record in the GSL.
“It seems that lately, someone new comes up big,” Crain said. “So many guys are stepping up.”
Two weeks ago, it was Caden Martin with both goals in a 2-1 regular-season win over CV. The week before, Kelly scored both match-winners in one-goal victories over Rogers and North Central.
The late-game heroics have been set up by several players, including midfielders Alex Holmes and Landon Butler and defender Ty Spink.
“I think it’s remarkable that in some of these matches we’ve had to come from behind,” Crain said. “The kids, they never give up.”
Ferris is one of seven Greater Spokane League teams still in contention for state, but only Lewis and Clark is guaranteed to be playing next week. The Tigers, who are 15-1-1 after a pair of regional wins last week, will face Pasco on Thursday for the regional title. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. at Albi Stadium.
Both teams will advance to state, and both will host first-round matches next week.
Also on Tuesday, G-Prep will host Richland at 5:30 p.m. in a loser-out match.
In the 3A ranks, North Central has two shots to reach state. The first comes Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Albi, where the Indians (7-7) play Kennewick for the regional title.
The winner goes directly to state, while the loser will play on Saturday against the survivor of loser-out matches that begin on Tuesday. Mt. Spokane hosts Rogers at 5:30 p.m., while Shadle plays Kamiakin at 4 p.m. at Lampson Stadium in Kennewick.
The winners meet Thursday, with the winner of that match facing the NC-Kennewick loser for the No. 2 berth at state.
In 1A, Lakeside and Colville have clinched state berths. They will play for the Northeast A District title on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at G-Prep.
Lakeside has enjoyed a remarkable season, going 15-1 overall and sweeping the NEA regular season with a 12-0 record.
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