Clay wins Keystone Heights speed-fest

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KEYSTONE HEIGHTS - Clay and Keystone Heights high school soccer teams had one thing in common prior to their Monday night clash.

Team speed; mainly Keystone Heights forward Dean Hogg, with his 26 goals coming off inside feeds off breakaways with Landon Ricketts and Colby Townsend while Clay High had speedster in Jacob Upchurch with outside feeds from Cristian Hunter or Wendy Charles.

"We had to switch up our defense with Ryan Borsheim going to middle back to counter their guy (Dean Hogg)," said Clay coach Josh Bookstor. "Was probably our best second half all season and a great team win for Clay."

Both teams got to the Keystone Heights High School field with sterling records; 6-1 for Clay, 8-2-2 for Keystone Heights. Clay with a final goal from near 35 yards out from Seth Hernandez left with a 3-2 win that gave coach Josh Bookstor one of his more memorable coaching wins. Both teams met in the Keystone Heights preseason tournament in a match that ended at 1-1.

In a matter of just 45 seconds into Monday nights game, Keystone Heights had Townsend repelling a quick Clay corner kick by Upchurch that put the Indian defense on its heels early.

Upchurch and Matthew Pellegrini kept the forward pressure on Keystone Heights defense until the 25 minute mark when Upchurch took a center service pass from Ryan Borsheim and made a falling backwards shot that rifled past Indians goalie Carson Eatmon.

Four minutes later, a break by Hogg got Hogg knocked off his feet and awarded a free kick 20 out from Clay goalie Nolan Evers.

From there, Hogg connected into the upper corner of the net for a 1-1 tie at 21 minutes.

With 6:09 left in the half, Hunter took a feed from Reece Paradise and split two Keystone Heights defenders to crash in on Eatmon for a 2-1 Clay lead.

"Cristian had a solid game and been great this season,"said Bookstor.

Undeterred, just four minutes later, Ricketts found Hogg on a break that turned into a 2-2 game at the half with Hogg burying goal 28 into the upper left corner.

Both teams exchanged fast-moving surges to the opposite goal keeps who kept pace with diving saves throughout until Hernandez broke away in front of the Keystone Heights bench and launched a looped shot just past midfield that caught Eatmon on the wrong side of the box.

The goal put Clay ahead for the final 3-2 score with Hogg getting rejected by Evers on a final free kick deep inside the Clay zone near the field's baseline mark.

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