PANAMA CITY BEACH — Patience is not a word often used to describe high school-aged boys.
In his first year as the Mosley boys soccer coach, Ryan Rogers has finagled a way to make that description appropriate for his players.
Mosley’s ball-control style of offense applied pressure all night, and the Dolphins took advantage of two defensive miscues to earn a 2-0 victory Friday in the District 2-3A championship game at the Mike Gavlak Sports Complex.
Mosley (11-1-1) will host Gulf Breeze — a 2-0 loser against Choctawhatchee in the District 1-3A title game Friday night — in the Region 1-3A quarterfinals on Thursday. Bay (10-6-2) will travel to play Choctaw the same night.
“We need to play consistent for 80 minutes and put moments of brilliance together,” Rogers said.
Mosley scored both of its goals against the Tornadoes after mistakes by Bay.
Alex Burgans’ corner kick resulted in an own goal when the ball struck off of a Bay defender’s leg and was redirected into the back of the net. Burgans sent the ball into the 18-yard box on a low trajectory, and Bay goalkeeper Zach Watson was helpless to stop the ricochet.
In the 62nd minute, a kick to the ankles inside the box by a Bay defender led to a Mosley penalty kick. Burgans initially lined up to attempt it, but teammate Douglas Perryman stepped in and made it clear from afar that he would be taking the kick. Perryman went low with his shot to beat Watson and extend the Dolphins’ lead to 2-0.
“At practice we were taking PKs and we had a little friendly competition,” Perryman explained. “I ended up winning.”
Mosley put considerable pressure on the Tornadoes, but Watson and his teammates largely held up well and thwarted the majority of Mosley’s threats to score. The Dolphins narrowly missed several chances to increase their lead to a safer margin, either with shots pushed just wide or high or with Watson making a praise-worthy save.
Rogers complimented his players for their level of play against a solid Bay squad.
“If a team at this level has the ability to be patient with the ball and has the skill and understands how it works, it can dominate the other team,” Rogers said. “Teams are not used to that. We had moments we were able to do it. When we do that, the other team can start to get flustered.”
Bay struggled to get any rhythm offensively with the Dolphins possessing the ball for long stretches. Mosley persistently pressed forward with numbers, and the Tornadoes were unable to build a credible counterattack to strike for a goal of their own.
Even though his team endured two breakdowns defensively, Watson believes Bay will fare well in its regional quarterfinal matchup if it plays with the same effort and intensity.
“It’s something to build on,” Watson said. “We played our hearts out. If we play this good in the quarterfinals, we have a shot. Whoever we play, whether it’s Gulf Breeze or Choctaw, it will be a tough game for them.”