COLUMBIA - Skill beat out athleticism in the South Carolina High School League Class A boys soccer championship Saturday, as Christ Church defeated Blackville-Hilda 4-1 at Memorial Stadium.
It was a convincing triumph, if not a surprising one.
"They were clearly at a level above ours as far as technique, but I felt that our athleticism kept us in the game," Blackville-Hilda coach Patrick Sensiba said.
"Our kids come from a poor, predominantly African-American area of South Carolina. They just competed against the elite level of affluence and soccer in the state," Sensiba said.
Christ Church (16-9-1), with Tomek Charowski and Scott Burgess serving as instructors, turned the final into a clinic and repeated as champion.
"When you play against a team that doesn't have the same kind of experience," said Christ Church coach David Wilcox, "it doesn't matter how good they are as athletes, or how fast they are or how strong they are. They can't compete with guys (who have the ball) basically glued to their feet the whole day."
The Cavaliers scored three times in the first 10 minutes and coasted from there.
The first goal came when Jake Hendrickson's throw-in led set up a score by Batten Farrar. Charowski lofted the ball from about 25 yards away, and Burgess' header found the goal for the second goal. Rhett McCraw's header redirected a corner kick by Bobby McCall for the third goal.
"We came out real strong in the first 10 minutes, and I think we just fell asleep at the end (of the half)," Charowski said. "We came back in the second half a little bit, but overall, I don't think we played our best."
Blackville-Hilda (14-10-1) scored its goal early in the second half on a penalty kick by Philip Sparks.
Christ Church made it 4-1 when Charowski accepted a crossing pass from Fletcher McCraw, slipped a defender and beat Blackville-Hilda freshman goalkeeper Derrick McAlister.