It was a battle to the end, but the Destin Marlins pulled off a 1-0 victory over the Pryor Pirates in the Okaloosa County Middle School Boys Soccer Championship game Thursday night in Destin.
“This means everything,” said an out-of-breath Destin captain Michael O’Leary. “This is the one game I’ve been preparing for all these four years. I’m really proud of my team and all of the effort they have put in.”
With no score at the half, Destin finally got one in the net in the last seven minutes of play.
Destin’s O’Leary made a shot and then Guillherme Marques followed up and put the ball in the back of the net.
“Well that was a very good game,” said Destin Coach Carlos Gonclaves. “We knew Pryor would come in very strong and they did, especially the second half.”
But the Marlins were up to the challenge.
“We have only one chance and the chance we have, we score … that was a beautiful goal,” Gonclaves said.
As soon as the final whistle was blown on the field, the team was ecstatic.
Not only did they take turns lifting up the trophy and cheering for one another, they took a victory lap around the field holding the trophy.
“This was a long time coming,” said assistant coach Edwin Reyes.
The last time the boys won the county title was 2010.
“We fought hard. It was a long season full of unexpected setbacks but at the end we pulled together and came through,” Reyes added.
“That was a very good game … the season was outstanding,” Gonclaves said.