COLUMBUS: Revere boys soccer coach Sandor Jakab was in the middle of savoring the moment on the pitch when assistant John Rorabaugh came over to chat him up.
Rorabaugh gave Jakab a hug and did his best distraction job as a group of Minutemen sophomores proceeded to dump a cold bucket of ice water on their leader on a cool and windy day at Columbus Crew Stadium.
It was celebration time for Revere following its 2-0 victory Saturday over Columbus Bishop Watterson in the Division II state championship match. The title is Revere’s first in an OHSAA state team tournament.
Sophomore Daniel Branch scored a goal in the fourth minute and senior Nolan Dyko added a goal in the 32nd minute to lead the Minutemen (21-0-2) over the Eagles (18-5-0).
“This is beyond belief,” Jakab said following hugs with his wife, Sherri, and their six children. “It has been a lifelong ambition, but it has also been this team’s ambition to bring a state title to this school. Golly, we are a team. How we came together as a team to get this done this year is unbelievable. What a feeling.”
Revere finished as state runner-up in 2011, 2010 and 1995, and was a state semifinalist participant in 2004 and 2000. The Minutemen have a 78-5-4 record since 2010.
“This was obviously emotional and the third time is the charm I guess,” senior goalkeeper Joel Gerberich said. “Being able to go down and turn to [senior] Chase Somple [and share a hug], this has been what we have been working for all year. This was emotional and awesome.”
Revere held an edge in shots on goal (7-1) and corner kicks (2-0).
“We came out and got those two early goals,” Jakab said. “We knew we had the wind at our back. Branch came out strong and hit that one. Dyko put one away. That is energy that we feed off of. We had to go through moments and we got the job done today. That is a very good team that we played against.”
Branch finishes the season with a team-high 19 goals.
“They are a good team, but we were just on fire and we didn’t let up,” Branch said. “They are definitely one of the best teams we have played all season.
“I have been so anxious since the end of last season. This is all I have wanted to do. This means a lot that we came through and we got this win.”
Revere senior Brian Gillette assisted on Dyko’s goal, his 13th this season.
“Thankfully the ball came to me from Brian’s pass,” Dyko said. “He was the garbage man who picked up the loose ball and passed it to me. I was focused enough to put it away. I felt like I was focused for this game and mentally prepared, and same for the whole team. This is a great feeling.”
Gerberich saved one shot and benefited from a solid defensive unit of seniors Brandon Taylor and Andrew Robinson and sophomores Simon Kirkendall and John Sternasty.
Taylor said the perpetrators of dousing Jakab with water were “sophomore hooligans.”
“This feels great,” Taylor said. “It hasn’t really set in yet.”
Dyko and Somple started at midfield with junior Luke Kasson. Branch started at forward with seniors Jordan Marich and Blake Easterling.
“I know it sounds cliché, but it is so indescribable,” Somple said. “The feeling, I still can’t believe it is real. It doesn’t feel like we won. I am sure it will settle in later.”
Revere caps its season with 101 goals scored and 11 goals allowed. The Minutemen shut out 16 opponents this season and Gerberich finishes with 39 shutouts in his career.
“They were smart,” Watterson coach Chad Smith said. “They won the coin toss and they took the wind, which is exactly what we wanted to do. They were more smart in playing direct right at us with the wind. I think the first goal, I saw a little bit of nerves in my boys. I felt like we were not exactly fluid in our movement.
“They are a very well coached team and you could tell they have played here before two years ago. Just the experience of being here and the experience being in this situation, and there are some big boys on that team. If you looked down their sideline you see several large kids on that team. We knew we were in for a battle.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.