Perry Hall boys soccer forward Nicky Jones continued his outstanding senior season Friday, scoring the lone goal as the Gators (13-2-2) kept their dominance going against Dulaney in the Class 4A North Region semifinal with a 1-0 victory at Honeygo Regional Park in Perry Hall.
It was Jones' 19th goal this season, but Perry Hall also relied on its strong defense of seniors Justin Ornelas and Kyle Smith and sophomores Colin Weyant and Evan Eibner in front of senior goalie Austin Kroll, a four-year starter.
The Gators recorded their 10th shutout of the season and held Hereford (8-3-2) without a shot on goal in the second half.
The win advanced Perry Hall to the regional championship game for the third consecutive season.
The Gators will play the Blake-Paint Branch winner Tuesday and their defense figures to shine again.
"We didn't get much pressure on them and that's attributed to their defense," said Tana, whose team has lost five of its last six games over the last three years to Perry Hall. "I think they have four all-county defenders."
Jones, however, is the Gators' MVP.
He scored in the third minute, drilling a left-footed shot on a crossing pass from Connor Gwin to the upper right corner from 15 yards out past Dulaney senior goalie Patrick Larkin.
"He is probably going to go Division I," Perry Hall coach Pete Eibner said. "He is probably the most dangerous kid around. If you can finish, you will always have a job in soccer. He can finish with both feet, but his left foot is as dangerous as it gets. He can shoot from anywhere."
Not many Dulaney players were getting that open.
The Lions were outshot 12-2 and attempts from Bill Houghton and Kyle Thibeault in the first half didn't challenge Kroll that much.
It was one of Perry Hall's more physical games of the season. Officials handed out two yellow cards.
"I didn't understand the rivalry when I first got the job three years ago," Eibner said. "I just thought it was another county game. I was educated quickly. I tell people, 'This is the best rivarly in the county.'"
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