PANAMA CITY BEACH — Running was as much a function of staying warm as it was of generating possessions and shots on goal Thursday night.
So it only makes sense that the lone goal scored in Mosley’s win over Arnold was registered only when a player didn’t move quickly enough.
Mosley’s Cole Moreau booted a low corner kick that ricocheted off an Arnold defender and into the Marlins’ net for an own goal in the 18th minute, and Dolphins goalkeeper Josh Hoey preserved a 1-0 shutout at the Mike Gavlak Sports Complex in a non-district boys soccer game.
The Dolphins have overcome a slow start and improved to 4-9-4 with their third win in four games. Mosley coach Dave Skakal said his team secured the county championship with the victory.
“Hopefully it transitions to the district tournament,” Skakal said of his team’s recent success.
Mosley plays Lake City Columbia in Tallahassee on Tuesday in the first round of the District 2-4A tournament next Tuesday. The two teams split a pair of meetings during the regular season.
The Marlins (6-6-1) play Bay on Saturday before their District 2-3A tournament begins next Tuesday at Choctawhatchee in Fort Walton Beach.
Mosley and Arnold were two evenly matched teams competing in blustery wind and a temperature dipping into the low-40s. Both teams were able to control the ball in spurts and piece together scoring opportunities, but goals were hard to come by.
Arnold’s Quinn Schoppe was unlucky on two near-misses in the first half. Hoey got caught out of position away from his goal, and Schoppe nearly beat him with a nifty chip over a defender toward the goal. Hoey recovered, however, and he dove to swat the ball away inches before it crossed the goal line to preserve a scoreless tie.
After the own goal put the Marlins behind 1-0, Schoppe nearly tied the game with a shot toward the far post from the edge of the 18-yard box. His attempt sailed a foot wide of the right post, however.
“We had our chances,” Arnold coach Rick Sylvester said. “Like I told our boys, when you play Mosley it’s not easy. They’re tough, and they got us tonight.”
Sylvester said the own goal was a result of a defender not allowing the corner kick through to his goalkeeper, who had little chance of turning away the deflection.
The Dolphins didn’t simply sit on the lead in the second half. They continued to push their attack when opportunities arose while managing to prevent Arnold’s offense from knotting the score.
“It was a close game tonight,” Skakal said. “Arnold is a good team, and they played us well. ... I hate any 1-0 lead. Any coach does.”
“I thought when we got the wind at half that would make the difference,” adding Sylvester, noting his players had the bone-chilling wind gusting in their face for the first 40 minutes. “But I was wrong. It just wasn’t our night.”