Vikings’ historic season ends with semifinal loss to Center Hill

Published 8:39 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Warren Central’s historic boys’ soccer season came to an end Tuesday.

Center Hill scored two goals in the second half to break open a tight game, and went on to beat Warren Central 4-1 in the MHSAA Class 6A North State championship game.

“The game was close. It was back-and-forth. We fought hard and had chances to the end and just couldn’t get them in there,” Warren Central coach Greg Head said.

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Luke Bond scored the Vikings’ goal, off a corner kick from Laney Lewis, and they went into halftime down 2-1. Some mistakes and missed opportunities in the second half, however, allowed Center Hill to pull away.

Warren Central missed a penalty kick and had a goal taken off the board by an offsides call. Center Hill converted a penalty kick of its own midway through the second half, then added another late to ice it.

“The defense made a couple of mistakes and when you make mistakes at this level you’re going to pay for it,” Head said.

Center Hill (18-2) advanced to face Long Beach in the Class 6A state championship game Saturday at 6 p.m. at Germantown High School in Gluckstadt. Long Beach defeated George County 3-2 on Tuesday for the South State title.

Warren Central reached the state semifinals for the first time since 1993, and finished with a 17-5-1 record. It won three games last season.

“We turned the record around. I’m proud of these guys. We went through a lot of adversity last year and I think that was part of what made them so good this year. You can’t ask for more than what these guys did,” Head said. “We’ve still got a young team. If these guys come back and do this next year we’re going to be in great shape.”

Even better, Head added, it appears this could be just the start of a very successful era for the program. The Vikings only have three seniors and five juniors on the roster. Seven starters are either freshmen or sophomores, including top scorers like Bond, Jacob Porter and Jonah Artman.

“We have nothing but good teams coming up for the next three, four, five years. We’re going to be back up here next year. We’ve got talent coming up,” Head said. “When half your team is ninth- and 10th-graders, you know you’ve got something good coming up.”