TAMPA — From the start of Friday night’s Class 4A, District 8 boys soccer final to the end, Sickles slammed down the accelerator on visiting Mitchell.
"We knew we were going to have to give it everything we had," Sickles junior John Webb said, "because we know Mitchell is so tough."
In the end, after 80 furious minutes up and down the field, Sickles pulled off a 3-2 victory, ending Mitchell’s bid to make it three district titles in a row.
"(Sickles) wanted it more than us tonight," Mitchell coach Oscar Ubillus said. "I’m not faulting our effort, but I’m just saying Sickles wanted it more."
Sickles (11-2-2) started the scoring in the ninth minute after Gryphon Andy Gonzalez was tackled in the box. A few moments later, Gonzalez rifled in a penalty kick to make it 1-0.
"To get up on (Mitchell) early was important, but we knew (Mitchell) was going to keep coming at us," said Sickles coach Carl May. "Mitchell is one of the best teams in the state, and you can never let up against somebody like that."
Mitchell (18-6-3) answered in the 25th minute when junior Max Moon drilled a 20-yard shot into the goal’s left side.
With the score tied 1-1, the momentum still seemed to favor Sickles, which continued to lead in the shots-on-goal tally.
It wasn’t until the 39th minute, however, before Sickles broke through again. This time, following a corner kick and several pinball ricochets off bodies, it was Webb who scored after finding the ball at his toes just a few feet from the goal.
"It was pretty much wide open," Webb said. "I just kicked it in."
Mitchell again answered in the 42nd minute when Brennan Breuer sent a 30-yard shot high and looping just inside the right post and under the crossbar.
From there things stayed relatively even until the 62nd minute when Webb received a high arching ball off the foot of Xavier Apolinario. Webb quickly collected himself and sent a 15-yard bullet into back of the net.
"We knew the district was going to go through Mitchell," May said. "We’ve been talking about it for a while. What a great feeling to get this victory. I’m so proud of these guys."