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Harford Tech boys soccer knocks off defending champion Century, 2-1, in 2A state semifinals

Century boys soccer’s run finally came to an end.

Harford Tech scored a pair of first-half goals and held on to beat the defending state champion Knights, 2-1, in Saturday’s Class 2A state semifinal at Montgomery Blair High School.

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It was the final game for Century’s squad of talented seniors that delivered the program’s second title in 2019. Third-year coach Trey Howes reflected on his team’s success after the game.

“The game didn’t really go the way we planned,” Howes said. “As a season and as a whole, I am really proud of the group. This group has helped establish our culture and the way we do things around here. Younger kids can look at that and use it as a model for the future. I am very happy and proud that they were able to do that.”

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After a back-and-forth opening 10 minutes, Harford Tech broke the ice with a long shot that found the goal. Junior Aiden Barkey gained possession in the defensive zone and found teammate Aydin Blevins, who corralled the ball near the 30-yard line on the Century side of the field and launched a shot from just inside the numbers.

The high shot snuck just over the reach of leaping Century goalkeeper Vijay Jetton and under the crossbar to give the Cobras a 1-0 lead at the 19-minute mark of the first half.

“It felt amazing,” Blevins said. “I looked up and I didn’t think it was going to go in, so it was amazing.”

Six minutes later, Century found itself down two goals. Sophomore Aiden Hall pressured the Knights’ defense with a well-timed run to the box. Century cleared the ball to the back line, setting up a corner for the Cobras.

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Freshman Aiden Warren delivered a perfect corner kick to the head of senior Thomas Geyer, who knocked the ball inside the post to put Harford Tech up 2-0 at halftime.

“Once we figured out when we could move the ball forward, we found our main attack guys and they did a good job,” Hall said of his team’s strategy.

Century had its chances to respond but struggled to finish against a stingy Cobras defense. The Knights had a header go just wide off a set play on a free kick midway through the first half. Another shot from the top of the box beat the goaltender but sailed high late in the opening half.

Harford Tech goalkeeper Andrew Wozar made an impressive sprawling save early in the second half to deny the Knights.

“Our defense was excellent,” Harford Tech coach Mike Dempsey said. “Our goalie Andrew Wozar is an outstanding goalkeeper and he’s made some great saves back there. The wind was a huge factor, we were able to take advantage of it in the first half then hold on and defend late.”

The Knights really ramped up the pressure with eight minutes to go in the game and it finally paid off with five minutes left. Junior forward Cooper Santos gathered a loose ball in the box after a free kick and beat Wozar with a high shot to cut the deficit to 2-1. It proved to be too little, too late as the Cobras held on.

“This team has worked so hard all year,” Dempsey said. “Couldn’t be prouder of them. It has been a special. To get to the first final for the school is quite the accomplishment.”

The Cobras will be looking to bring home the school’s first state title in the championship game at Loyola Maryland next weekend. Harford Tech will take on Parkside in the 2A final. Game time is Saturday at noon.

“This is a really big opportunity for us to make our name [known],” Blevins said.

Goals: H – Aydin Blevins, Thomas Geyer. C – Cooper Santos. Assists: H – Logan Barkey, Aiden Warren Saves: C – Vijay Jetton 3. H – Andrew Wozar 3. Halftime: 2-0, Harford Tech

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