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Eagles edge Warriors with miraculous goal

Published 4:15pm Friday, April 11, 2014

The Fort Dale Academy soccer team proved Wednesday that the best plans are often the ones that are improvised.

Jake Gillem interrupted a stalemate accounting for most of the second half with a wild shot near midfield that sailed past a sea of Lee-Scott Academy defenders, finding its way home for the Eagles’ second pivotal score necessary to edge out the Warriors 2-1 in the quarterfinals match of the playoffs.

FDA head soccer coach Josh Wildermuth said that no one, including himself and the opposing team, saw the shot coming.

“He didn’t even expect it; he told me that it wasn’t planned,” Wildermuth said.

“He just hit it and we kind of got lucky on it, but we’ll take whatever we can get.”

The initial score was a far more deliberate play, however, as Wildermuth took early control of the first half with a play he concocted after watching the United States matchup with Mexico.

“We got three guys in the front and we set it up right at the six yard line with the hopes that all of their defense would go towards our front post, leaving the whole back side wide open, which is exactly what happened,” Wildermuth explained.

“Everybody went forward, and then we had our guy (Michael Padalino) come in from the back side and he put it in the back door, which is kind of the best way to score because everyone is facing the one way and they don’t see what’s behind them.”

But a lax Eagles’ defense gave up a score to the Warriors with barely a minute remaining in the half, taking away the momentum as quickly as it was built.

Gillem’s score in the second half may have been the pivotal turning point in the match, but Wildermuth said that it was the will of his eight seniors to make their last year count that allowed the Eagles to advance.

“A lot of them were expecting big things in other sports this year, and it never happened, and this is probably their best opportunity before they leave school to leave a lasting memory on the school and put a banner in the gym,” he said.

The Eagles vied to keep their championship dreams alive against Macon-East Friday night in the semifinal round, but results were unavailable at press time.

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