ST. PETERSBURG — Shorecrest knew beating district nemesis Bradenton St. Stephen's would be a tall task. After advancing to the 2A-10 final on penalty kicks, Friday's game wasn't that close as the Falcons shut out the Chargers 5-0. Both teams advance to the region playoffs.
St. Stephen's wasted no time getting on the board. In the 10th minute Chris Scott took a pass from Toby Howell and beat the keeper to put the Falcons up 1-0.
The Chargers fought back but couldn't dent the scoreboard. Matt Reese's shot was stopped by the keeper and just before the half the Chargers squandered their best scoring chance.
"They're skilled. They're really fast and they played smart," Chargers coach Jeff Diedrich said. "The way they play off the ball is incredible."
Shorecrest came out in the second half with a renewed vigor, but an offside call negated its best opportunity.
"After the half we said we need to be more aggressive," Diedrich said. "We created scoring chances by challenging the ball better and playing a different tempo."
St. Stephen's then started to capitalize on its chances. Conner McCullen won a scramble in front of the net and left-footed the ball into the goal. In a six-minute span, the Falcons put the game away with three more goals.
"(Thursday) night we were not happy with just being here," Diedrich said. "We want to be the district champions. No matter who we play in the playoffs, we'll have to bring our A game."