Eagles nip West Bladen in double-overtime, 4-3

DUBLIN — As is the case for most rivalry contests, records were tossed out the window on Monday when 11-1 East Bladen traveled across the county to meet 4-4-1 West Bladen in a Three Rivers Conference soccer match.

It took two intense halves of soccer and two overtimes to produce a winner.

The Eagles opened the game as if they were intent on flying away with an easy win. Caleb Hatchell took a pass from Greyson Heustess and booted home a goal for a 1-0 edge. Moments later, Heustess found the back of the net with a shot that gave East Bladen a 2-0 lead.

That advantage stood up until halftime for the Eagles.

West Bladen got on the board early in the second half on a free kick — then knotted the match at 2-2 moments later with a goal from 25 yards out.

Neither team could break the other’s defense through the rest of regulation.

In the first overtime, Melvin found Irvin Hernandez with a pass and Hernandez rocketed a shot into the net for a 3-2 Eagles lead. But the Knights pressured the East Bladen defense, which finally allowed a West Bladen goal with just over 2 minutes left in the OT.

In the second overtime, Melvin got the winning goal when he took a pass from B.J. Monroe and ripped a shot into the net — and the defense held the rest of the way.

The Eagles recorded 149 steals in the match, led by Jake Evans with 20; Melvin and Ezequiel Arteaga with 17 each; Keshaun Davis with 15; Heustess with 14; Gabe Barber with 12; and Hatchell with 11.

Scott Spencer had five saves in the nets for East Bladen.

The Eagles improved to 12-1 overall and 7-0 in the conference, while the Knights fell to 4-5-1 overall and 4-3 in the conference.