PINELLAS PARK — A first-half stalemate exploded into a second-half blowout, and Northeast dominated Pinellas Park 4-0 to win the Class 5A, District 12 championship.
For the first 40 minutes Friday, the Vikings and Patriots were locked in a chess match.
Each was backed by strong midfield play and excellent goalkeeping. Both teams missed out on key opportunities to score and the score was knotted at 0 at the break.
After a slow opening to the second half, Northeast senior Sebastian Martinez found an opening in the Patriots defense. He took advantage by scoring the first goal in the 53rd minute, which opened the floodgates for the Viking offense. Junior Lucas Villarreal scored consecutive goals within a span of five minutes, putting the Vikings up 3-0.
"We played them twice during the regular season. Basically we have a feeling for it. We knew we had to move the ball better and work more as a team," said Villarreal. "Whoever had more determination was going to win."
Junior Bogdan Yordanov added another goal amid myriad late fouls by Pinellas Park, locking up the victory for the Vikings.
"We played our best game of the season on a night when we needed it the most," said Northeast coach Thomas Blauvelt.
"My team was a step ahead all night and we took care of business."