Class B boys soccer: Waverly notches another shootout win behind GK Morehead — ‘We just love him to death’ | High School Soccer

Welcome to Episode 30 of the Prep Extra Podcast presented by The Lincoln Journal Star.

OMAHA — A high school soccer goaltender could play four years and still not record as many saves from penalties as Waverly’s Ian Morehead did this spring.

“It’s definitely over 10[savers],” said Waverly coach Mike Ziola.

With a penalty, the shooter has a clear advantage – except maybe against Morehead.

Results and schedules of state football tournaments

Waverly’s season continues after another shootout win, this time in the first round of Thursday’s Class B Boys State Tournament at Morrison Stadium.

The fourth-place Vikings beat No. 5 Scottsbluff 5-4. Waverly won the shootout 3-0.

Waverly has won three of his four shootout games this season, and they’ve all been significant. The Vikings also won shootout games in the Conference Championship (three saves for Morehead) and the District Finals (two saves).

On Thursday, Morehead made two of the Bearcats’ three attempts and the other missed.

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“He’s one of the best, if not the best goalies in the state,” said Waverly senior Landon Tjaden. “We’ve been to so many shootouts and he’s given us some big, big moments. We just love him to death.”

Hundreds of Waverly students stood directly over the gate during the shooting. Tjaden secured the shootout in the fourth round. The Scottsbluff goalie got the ball with his hand, but he still sailed into the goal.

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Waverly is in the semifinals of state soccer for the first time in 21 years. The Vikings play No. 2 Omaha Skutt.

“It’s crazy to think about it. It’s been 20 years since Waverly made it to the semifinals,” Tjaden said.

There have been a lot of things for Waverly this season that haven’t happened in a while. Waverly won the conference title for the first time since 2008 and was named a state for the first time since 2010.

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“Here’s the deal, we’ve got a group of kids working their tails off, they’re ready to learn,” Ziola said. “We’re not much better than the bottom (teams) but we can play our way to the top and that’s what all these close games are about. And now these kids can believe they can win, and that’s a pretty powerful thing when you start believing that you can win every game.”

And it comes in the final season, before Ziola leaves to become an assistant principal in his hometown of Columbus.

This week was very special for Ziola. His wife Kaitlyn welcomed their first child on Tuesday. She is still in the hospital and Ziola still has his hospital bracelet on his wrist.

“I didn’t sleep much and missed my first practice of the year on Tuesday,” said Ziola.

Early in the first half, Waverly scored two goals in just 50 seconds. Carson Brentlinger opened the scoring by fending off two defenders and deflecting a shot into the top of the goal. Then Kemper Reed made it 2-0 with a tight shot.

Then it was the Bearcats’ turn for back-to-back results. Karim Castillo Leos scored first, then Aaron Schaff made it 2-2 just before half-time.

The rapid goal-scoring continued early in the second half. Braden Anderson scored with a long-range shot to make it 3-2 for Scottsbluff. But just 20 seconds later, Waverly responded as Tjaden scored with a rebound to make it 3-3.

Waverly took a 4-3 lead with 27 minutes remaining in the second half through an Anthony Ruelas goal. He took a pass from Jonny Martin over the front of the goal and hit the open side of the net.

Five minutes later, Scottsbluff tied the game 4-4 when Schaff scored his second goal of the game.

Fatigue quickly set in during the game, which was played in the afternoon with a heat index of 100 degrees.

“I’ll remember how hot it was,” Tjaden said. “But we went out and played with so much heart and determination and we were just so tough mentally.”

Ziola said the Heat was likely a factor in the eight combined goals.

“Honestly, at times it reminded me of a summer league football game where the kids just couldn’t move,” Ziola said. “I look at our kids, who I know give me everything, and it seems like they get their legs crushed at times. And then after that barrage of goals, nothing happened because I don’t think anyone had anything left in the tank.”

Reach the author at 402-473-7435 or On twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

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