Truckers end TC’s season

CLYDE – Columbian’s players were on the sidelines for a while after Wednesday night’s game – and their season – ended.

There were hugs and thank-yous given out.

It didn’t appear anyone was ready for the run to end.

But the Tornadoes’ run to the Division II district tournament – it’s first since the late 1990s – did end Wednesday night when they were downed in Clyde by Norwalk, 3-1.

“This senior class, they’ve been playing together probably since they were in fifth, sixth grade,” said Columbian coach Rob Ochier. “Six, seven, eight years is a lot of work, it’s a lot of time, it’s a lot of sticking together, it’s a lot of the good times and bad times, the roller coaster, up and down.”

The seniors certainly had an ‘up’ season to end on, even if the final game was disappointing. TC finished 13-5, winning the Northern Ohio League.

Ochier gave credit to his seniors.

“This senior class is, by far, one of the closest senior classes we’ve ever had,” Ochier said. “I think they left their mark on our program.”

It was the third time the Truckers and Tornadoes met in 2013, and they had split the first two meetings.

Wednesday’s game was scoreless into the fifth minute, when Norwalk’s Zaccaheus Hunter took a pass from Caden Foos and found the net.

“That first goal kind of deflated us a little bit,” Ochier said.

In the 22nd minute, things got worse for the Tornadoes.

Devon Miller got a pass, again from Foos, and directed the ball past TC goalkeeper Josh Gibson to put the Truckers up 2-0.

Columbian struggled against the Norwalk defense, with the Truckers moving the ball near the Tornadoes’ goal much of the night.

“We are a strong defensive team, I have four [defenders] that are just lights out,” said Norwalk coach Paul Lamb. “They knew what to do and they just did their jobs. [We] had a couple breakdowns, twice that I was aware of, and I’d like to have those back, but hey, Tiffin’s a good team. They’ve done very well. I’m proud of how they came out this year.”

It looked as though the Truckers had clinched the game in the 64th minute, when Foos added to his big game by scoring to put Norwalk up, 3-0.

But the goal seemed to light a fire under the Tornadoes. Less than a minute later, Columbian’s Hunter Stark broke away for an unassisted goal.

“It took us a while to get that momentum going,” Ochier said. “We buried that one; Hunter put in a nice distance shot there, and it lit a fire a little bit. It was just a big deficit to come back from.

The Tornadoes also had to deal with strong play from Norwalk goalie Wes Tanzillo, who had six saves.

Gibson, in his final match, also had six saves.

Norwalk out-shot Columbian 10-8. Norwalk (11-5-2) advances to Saturday’s final here at noon. The Truckers will face Clear Fork, which beat Port Clinton in the first semifinal Wednesday.