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Evans knocks RHHS boys out of playoffs
Richmond Hill High School goalkeeper Joel Heiser comes down with the ball in the first half of the Wildcats 1-0 loss to Evans in the first round of the boys state Class AAAAA tournament Wednesday night at RHHS.

Richmond Hill High School’s soccer season came to a premature end Wednesday night as the Wildcats fell, 1-0, to visiting Evans in the first round of the boys’ state Class AAAAA soccer tournament.
The loss ended the Wildcats’ season at 15-4. It also marked the first time in six seasons under coach Robbie Flanders the school has lost in the first round of the state tournament.
It wasn’t an easy pill to swallow, Flanders said.
In a physical contest, Evans’ Justin Dowdle scored the game’s only goal with about 10 left in the first half when he collided hard with Wildcat goalkeeper Joel Heiser in front of the net.
Flanders said he thought Evans was offside on the play, but things got worse for the Wildcats when leading scorer Lucas Soares was lost to injury late in the first half and missed the rest of the match.
Not having Soares, who scored 26 goals this season, was big.
“It hurts when you lose that part of the game,” Flanders said. “He’s the fastest kid on the field, and anytime you can put someone as fast as Lucas on the field against a defense that can’t keep up with him, it puts pressure on them and opens things up for a lot of other people.”
Still, the Wildcats improvised by playing a number of freshmen, including forward Nathan Skaggs, and began to turn the tide their way in the second half after a halftime talk in which Flanders said he urged his players to be more physical.
Richmond Hill had a number of near-misses in the waning minutes, including shots by Jonathan Hatala and Skaggs that just missed with less than eight minutes to play.
“We completely won the second half. We just couldn’t get the shots to fall,” Flanders said.
The Wildcats lose Soares, a junior who will move to Germany, and a number of seniors to graduation, including captains Jonathan Hatala and Kenneth Adams, along with Benjamin Andrew, Sam Hulsey, Steven Robinson and Neil Williams.
Flander said he told his seniors “they did some great things this year.”

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