Chapin, SC (Connor Radtke) – Friday night, the Chapin High School Eagles boys’ soccer team faced off against the Eagles from Eastside HS in the South Carolina 4A State Championship. After the national anthem, the game started at 9:39 pm at WC Hawkins Stadium in Irmo. The game was well attended by fans even at that late hour.
The Chapin Eagles would start the game with the ball. Shortly after kick-off, one of Eastside’s players earned a yellow card, and both teams traded some free kicks and shots, but that was all unproductive. Chapin had two quick back-to-back corner kicks with 30 minutes left in the first half, but the Eagles were unable to capitalize on either of those. The game would continue in the same manner as both teams pushed hard to try to score the first goal of the game. With 17:45 left in the first, Chapin would earn another free kick. This time they decided to go directly for goal off the kick, the shot bounced off the post, dashing the hopes of the hometown fans. Chapin was unable to get the go-ahead goal.
After Chapin’s failed scoring attempt, each team made some adjustments, subbing some players in and out of the game. Eastside had a strong chance to score, shooting two quick shots at the net. The second made it past the Eagles’ goal-keeper, but Chapin’s defender #4, Jack Humphries saved it with a back-up block to keep the Eagles from Eastside scoreless. The first half ended with the both sets of Eagles showing no points on the board.
The second half kicked off and immediately rolled out at a much faster pace than the first. Chapin was able to earn a corner kick with 35 minutes left in the game, and the Eastside keeper made a big save to keep the game even at 0-0. About a minute later, Chapin received a free kick, and #23, Evan Eckman, took the shot from the spot and scored the 28 yarder! This would give Eagles from Chapin a 1-0 lead over birds from Eastside. A few minutes after the goal, each team would each earn a yellow card drawn by Eastside’s #3 Joseph Todd and Chapin’s #9 Jon Humphries.
The Eagles clash continued with both teams battling hard and trading good shots, but none earned them any points as the defense protected their goals like vaults full of gold. As the game continued, each team received another yellow card. Each made some substitutions and traded shots back and forth, before Eastside earned a free kick with 1:15 left in the game. Down 1-0 with time running out, Eastside decided to bring their keeper to the offensive side of the field, giving them an extra offender to try and score. Eastside was unable to capitalize on the free kick, and Chapin took possession of the ball and took a shot from across the field since there was no keeper in net. They missed wide left with just 22 seconds left in the game. The clock had no mercy on the upstate Eagles from Eastside. It ticked down to zero, giving the Chapin High School Eagles their third boys’ soccer championship in a row and their 50th state championship overall as a school.
Dr. Akil Ross, principal of Chapin High School, said after the game and asked him how he felt about the three-peat soccer state championship and 50th for his school. He responded saying that it all comes from hard work and belief in excellence. Ross said he is proud to say he has had a state title every year since he has been principal at Chapin High School. He believes that Chapin also shows what it means to have determined fans who care about their team, as the crowds cheering in the stands proved. The Eagles of Chapin showed what class they have during the game when a player from Chapin helped an Eastside team member stretch out a cramp. Overall, the game was a great show of heart and grit from both sides, as the low scoring showed. Congratulations Chapin High School, and good luck to both teams next season!