MARIETTA -- The Parkview boys soccer team came from behind to defeat Wheeler 2-1 in the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs Wednesday night.
The Panthers (11-9-0) withstood relentless pressure from the Wildcats (11-5-4) throughout the first 40 minutes before Kevin Osorio headed in the first goal of the game off a deflection with 9:01 left before halftime.
Wheeler had numerous scoring opportunities in the opening half, but some key stops from senior goalkeeper Jack Falle kept the Panthers' deficit at 1-0 before Raymond Muro tied things up with 2:20 to go in the half on a strike from outside the box that snuck just inside the right post.
"The first half was definitely not our best half of soccer," Parkview head coach Michael Tolmich said. "I think we came out a little flat, our touches weren't great. They came out and they beat us with intensity and we had to weather the storm a little bit.
"Going into halftime being tied at the end was a big booster for us so we talked at halftime that we had to settle down, we needed to pick up our intensity ... we just defended much better in the second half."
The Panthers grabbed the lead for good on a breakaway goal by freshman striker Jonathon Jarrett less than 90 seconds into the second half. Jarrett broke through the Wheeler defense on a dead sprint before beating Phillipe Dias to the far post and giving Parkview a 2-1 advantage.
A stellar defensive effort from the Panthers the rest of the way sealed the victory.
"The second half was a good half for us," Tolmich said. "I don't think we gave them that many opportunities to score, we had a lot of opportunities to score. We've got to put some balls away as these future rounds become bigger.
"The competition's not gonna get any easier, it's only gonna get harder and we just can't afford to have the same first 30 minutes, we've got to come out stronger than that."
Falle led the defensive effort in the second half as he stopped shot after shot despite re-aggravating a nagging back injury midway through the half.
"I think he tweaked it a little bit, he's got a knot back there," Tolmich said. "We said if he's walking, he's staying and he took some big goal kicks, he got down on the ground for one decent ball and that's what leaders are made of. They forget about their soreness and for the time that they have to, they lead their team. He led by example today and did a fantastic job.
"We'll get him some treatment over these next couple days and we'll see how he goes. He's gonna want to be out here on Saturday for us and for this team so we'll be counting on him unless something else happens."