Leto brought everything it had - emotionally, physically and strategically - to Friday's Class 5A-District 10 final at Jesuit, and yet the Falcons still left with a 2-0 loss.
"Leto was putting the pressure to us in all the right spots, that's for sure," Jesuit coach Bob Bauman said. "We had to play very well to beat them tonight, and fortunately we made enough plays to make it happen."
Jesuit (23-1-1) got the go-ahead goal in the 12th minute when Stephen Gathman dribbled through a couple of Leto defenders and fired a 6-yard shot past a diving keeper.
"It was hard-fought and we just kept fighting," Gathman said. "We kept working hard and it paid off."
Leto (13-9-1) kept the pressure on, ultimately outshooting the Tigers 9-8, but giving up the killing goal in the 73rd minute when Austin Hayes broke free from a scrum and fired a shot 15 yards into the net's left corner.
"We didn't change our strategy at all, even after we got up 1-0," Bauman said. "They say the worst score to be ahead in soccer is 2-0 because you relax. But we definitely wanted that second goal tonight. That second goal put it away."
Hudson Rolls Past Pasco 5-1
SPRING HILL - In two games between Pasco and Hudson this season, the two teams tied 0-0 and Pasco won 1-0.
Friday in the Class 4A-District 8 championship at Springstead, Dylan Luke scored in the sixth minute to end the Cobras' scoring drought. Hudson (17-5-3) added four more goals as the Cobras claimed the district championship with a 5-1 victory against the top-seeded Pirates (18-3-3).
After Gared Bennett tied the score on a long pass from Ernesto Garcia in the 21st minute, Hudson's offense turned the heat up on Pasco goalkeeper Jacob Pollock. Scott Combs scored his 44th goal of the season in the 29th minute that proved to be the game-winner.
"I've had these seniors since they were 8 years old," said Hudson coach Paul Vescio, whose Cobras were the No. 3 seed. "Every time their backs are against the wall ... they just refuse to lose. They've done it all their lives."
Midfielder Zack Wynn recorded two assists for the Cobras on throw-ins of 30 yards that were headed in for goals. One was on Luke's goal and the other was on Josh Frame's goal in the 55th minute.
"He's the best quarterback in the county and he has eight assists in these three district tournament games. He plays soccer just like he plays football. He's a leader out there," Vescio said.
Hudson's other goals came from Taylor Lamphier (48th minute) and Jonny Montes (60th minute).
Berkeley Prep Reigns In 3A-9
Tampa Catholic lost four players to suspension less than three hours before the Class 3A-District 9 championship against Berkeley Prep, including leading scorer Andrew Buckley, and it showed as the Buccaneers blanked the Crusaders 4-0.
J.D. Post scored two goals and Theo Wells and Jordan Crockett added one each for Berkeley. Tampa Catholic only could muster one serious offensive threat.
Without the four players and two others who were out with injury, Tampa Catholic started the game positioning players on the defensive side of the field even during offensive opportunities. The strategy worked as it was scoreless at halftime.
"As soon as we realized some of these guys were not playing, we lost some of our intensity," Berkeley coach Timothy Cooper said. "They gave us everything they had in the first half, but in the second half, we came out and said, 'Let's start playing a little bit.'"
McLaughlin Takes 2A-9 Title
SPRING HILL - For the third time this season, Bishop McLaughlin defeated Academy At The Lakes, this time 1-0 to capture the Class 2A-District 9 title.
Going into the game, Hurricane coach John Mayer told his players to throw out the regular-season victories (2-0, 2-1) and to be ready to play their best.
On the other side of the field, Wildcat coach Don Bellefeuille acknowledged his squad had an uphill battle.
"Our program is only in its third year and our defense is our strength," he said. "If it's a low-scoring game, we'll have a chance to win."
With 16 minutes left in the second half, Hurricane defenseman Nick Hellman drove a shot on goal from midfield. Wildcat goalkeeper Jason Pitcairn leaped to his right and parrried the shot back into play, where Hurricanes freshman Joe Gulau was able to gather the rebound and slide the ball past a diving Pitcairn.
Tampa Prep Grabs 6-0 Win
Tampa Prep's (11-4-3) quest for a third straight boys soccer state championship continued with a 6-0 Class 2A-District 10 championship victory against Cambridge Christian (9-11-5).
After serving as an assistant, Terrapin head coach Doug Smith cherished the opportunity to continue the championship tradition.
"It's great... but senior captain Alex Tuch said it best, that it's just the first step," Smith said.
Tuch and the rest of Prep's midfield controlled the game and ignited the shutout on a chilly Friday night.
"They controlled the game," Smith said. "It was a matter of hard work."
The Terrapins recorded the first goal off the leg of freshman Zack Hebert just three minutes into the game. The match was all but over seven minutes later when Tuch scored off junior Anthony Baumann's pass into the area.
Junior Alex Cardoso had a hand in the next three goals. He assisted on junior Brandon Weisz's goal three minutes into the second half, and scored the next two goals to increase the lead to 5-0.
Shorecrest Rips Northside 6-1
ST. PETERSBURG - Stephen Spanos scored two goals in each half as Shorecrest dominated Northside Christian 6-1 in Friday night's Class 2A-District 11 boys soccer championship game.
"When we played them last year, the game was closer than we wanted. So we came out hard. We were naturally aggressive, but not reckless," Spanos said.
Shorecrest forced Northside to be defensive throughout most of the game by applying constant pressure. Spanos maintained momentum in this effort by using his versatile scoring abilities. His second goal came on a rebound off Northside goalkeeper Grant Long's hands. His last goal came while running untouched for more than half the field to attack Long one on one.
"He should be the Pinellas County player of the year," said Shorecrest coach Jeff Diedrich. "He is always in the right place at the right time and if he isn't, he manages to make it happen."
Toms Bernhards-Callahan scored an additional goal for Shorecrest in the first half with an assist by Jeong Kim. Alistair Flynn scored a goal for Shorecrest in the second half. Seth Rogers scored Shorecrest's lone goal in the first half off a penalty kick.