SUMNER, Wash. – The St. George’s Dragons were the lone team this season that had any kind of success slowing down Northwest Christian forward Jacob Weaver.
The Dragons held the standout senior to a total of two goals in winning all three of the regular-season meetings between the two.
But with redemption on his and his teammates’ minds, Weaver exploded for a hat trick on Saturday night in the Class 1B/2B state championship game at Sunset Chev Stadium, lifting the Crusaders to a 4-0 win and capturing the school’s second state title.
“I had to make up for those other three (games),” Weaver said with a grin.
Weaver, who entered the game with 57 goals on the year, got his 58th in the 17th minute, taking a pass from Cody Kilpatrick in the middle, splitting two defenders and unleashing a shot across his body into the right corner of the goal from 10 yards out.
Northwest Christian (15-4) struck again 25th minute as Austin Friedly passed out of traffic in the middle to a wide-open Payton Gray on the left side, who deposited it into the right corner past goalkeeper Peter Worrall.
Although St. George’s outshot Northwest Christian, 4-3, in the first half, the Crusaders made the most of their chances.
“It was just remarkable finishing,” St. George’s coach Heidi Melville said. “And their defense stepped up in a way they haven’t all year.”
With the defense giving up few looks to St. George’s (17-3), Weaver continued to run wild on offense in the second half. He got loose on a breakaway, split two defenders and chipped the ball past Worrall in the 57th minute, and later added another goal – his 60th of the year – in the 69th minute.
“We played these guys (earlier) and he had a difficult time getting some goals,” Northwest Christian coach Mica Lamb said. “They used some things defensively that make it difficult for him. So we told him that he needed to be active off the ball. When he’s going at a breakneck pace he’s pretty much unstoppable. He got an opportunity to do that today.”
The Crusaders finished the two state games at Sunset Chev Stadium with nine goals while allowing opponents only one, a transformation that put a smile on Lamb’s face.
“(The seven seniors) wanted this so bad,” Lamb said. “It just really showed today. They’ve played well all season but I’ve seen a difference in their focus and execution this last week.”