BRANDON — Last year, Hillsborough won its first district title in five seasons.
The Terriers did not have to wait long for their next one, which came Friday when they defeated King 4-1 in the Class 4A, District 9 final.
Even more remarkable is that Hillsborough repeated as an underdog once again. The Terriers won the title as the fifth seed this time, a year after winning it as the sixth seed.
“The second was definitely tougher,” Hillsborough coach Steven Colborne said. “I just feel like last year I had a more talented team, but this year the boys worked harder.”
Hillsborough (10-6-3) took a 2-0 halftime lead Friday on the first of Jake Kennard’s two goals and Matias Marchi’s free kick. Kennard headed in a crossing pass from the left side off the foot of Blake Rehl in the 24th minute and Marchi hooked a shot into the upper left corner from just outside the penalty box in the 40th minute.
The Terriers doubled their lead in the second half with Alejandro Tovar kicking one in off a goal-mouth scramble in the 47th minute and Rehl setting up Kennard again, only this time from the right side.
Second-seeded King (13-6-6) foiled Hillsborough’s shutout bid when Eduardo Feliciano beat goalkeeper Tim Elko, who replaced starter Zach Wolf for the second half, from inside the box in the 79th minute.
4A-10: Palmetto remained undefeated against district opponents after a 4-1 win over Seminole. The Warhawks (13-8-1) will play at Hillsborough Thursday night in the regional quarterfinals.
Seminole trailed 4-0 until the final 30 seconds. Kendall Lima scored on an assist by Liam Murphy to ensure the Warhawks weren’t shutout.
“They were the better team,” Seminole coach Rick Masi said. “But I will say that our team never quit. We played hard the entire game and I’m proud of the boys for that.”