Destin Middle wins in semifinals of Okaloosa County soccer tournament

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

After a no-score first half, the Destin Marlins came out firing in the second to post a 4-0 shutout over the Meigs Wildcats in the semifinals of the Okaloosa County Middle School Soccer Tournament in Destin on Monday night.  

“I’m so proud of these boys … what a beautiful season, so far so good. They are accomplishing what I expected them to do,” Destin Coach Carlos Gonclaves said.  

The undefeated Destin Marlins came into the county tournament as the No. 1 seed but struggled Monday in the first half. 

“Meigs has very good players over there. It was hard for us to make penetration. But in the second half, we come down and put the ball on the floor and we have a very good pass to outside … that’s where the first goal came from. After that, the game became very easy for us,” Gonclaves said. 

Destin's Isaac Holbrook, center, tries to work the ball past a Meigs Wildcat. Holbrook scored on a penalty kick for Destin in their 4-0 victory.

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In the first minute of the second half, Destin came down with Alex Srnecek booting one in right up the middle on an assist from Caeden Stephens. 

Two minutes later, the Destin Marlins were back in front of the goal with Jose Nolasco kicking one in the net. Destin led 2-0 with 27 minutes to go. 

Destin's Alex Srnecek, right, scored twice for the Destin Marlins in their 4-0 win over the Meigs Wildcats.

Four minutes later, Meigs got a chance at a penalty kick, but Destin goalie William Greenwood got the block. 

“Will has had an incredible season,” Gonclaves said. His goal is to play college ball at a Division I school. 

Destin's Eli Scharf and Caeden Stephens try to keep the ball away from the Meigs Wildcats. Destin won 4-0.

“He’s been training very well. So far, his season is amazing,” he added. 

A couple of minutes later, Destin got a chance at a penalty kick as well. Destin’s Isaac Holbrook put the ball in the left corner of the net past an outstretched Wildcat goal keeper. 

Destin's Jose Nolasco pulls away with the ball in the first half of play. Nalasco scored for the Destin Marlins in the second half. Destin went on to win 4-0 in the middle school contest.

Destin scored one last time with eight minutes left on a 15-yard kick from Srnecek. 

“Based on the conversation we had at halftime, I believe in my team. My team is very skillful. I told them be very careful … I know they (Meigs) want a chance to score,” Gonclaves said. 

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The Marlins advance to the championship game Thursday at home against the Ruckel Rams. Game time is 5:30 p.m. 

In girls' soccer, the Lady Marlins took care of business on the road, beating the Liza Jackson Lions 2-1 in the semifinals in Fort Walton Beach. 

Destin's Bella Powell scored on a right-footed shot from outside the box to tie the match after the Marlins had gone down 0-1. Eleanor Ballard booted in the penalty kick to take the lead 2-1.

Destin's Caeden Stephens battles for the ball.

"The girls played really well as a group," said Destin Coach Demetris Stevens.

The Destin girls will also be playing for the title on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Twin Oaks Park in Niceville against the Ruckel Rams.