Sandy » Rowland Hall's Robbie Hull knew he didn't play his best in the semifinal game against South Summit. He was determined the championship game -- the last game of his high school career -- would be different.
He woke up Saturday morning feeling good. And he realized quickly his premonition was right when he was involved in back-to-back goals in the first half.
Hull wasn't the only one having a good day. The Winged Lions held off Grand 3-1 at Jordan on Saturday for their second consecutive Class 2A title.
"I just thought back to last year's state title game and big tournament games -- just games that I played well in," Hull said. "I wanted to play better and I just wanted to be out there, no matter what position I played in."
Hull played midfield before switching to sweeper in the second half. But before he played on defense, he played a big role on offense.
Grand was aggressive and created scoring chances early. But in the ninth minute, Hull delivered a precise pass to Jared Accettura, who found the back of the net. It didn't take long for Rowland Hall to build on that momentum. A little over a minute later, Ben Harries snuck up the right side and put in a nice cross, which Hull headed in for a 2-0 lead.
"They played yesterday like it was life or death. Today, I told them to just go out there and play for fun, play for each other," Rowland Hall coach Bobby Kennedy said. "But Grand had some pace and that scared our backs a little bit."
Rowland Hall had to deal with Grand's Sebastian Roa, the second-leading scorer in the state with an average of more than two goals a game. Roa closed the gap for the Devils when he scored in the 29th minute.
In the second half, Kennedy moved Hull to defense, which seemed to make the team more composed and limited Grands' scoring opportunities. Neither team was able to capitalize on offense in the second half. That is, until Walker Adams took a shot he didn't think had much of a chance.
"I took a swing but it was kind of far," Adams said. "I didn't expect too much from it."
The shot from about 30 yards out put the Winged Lions up by two with about four minutes left. At that point, Hull knew his team had locked up another state championship.
"I've been with most of the guys most of my life. I love being able to take the title, not only for myself but for the team," Hull said. "It's a great feeling."
For Grand, it was the end of a historic season that included a Region 13 championship and a 17-1-1 record.
"We were down 2-0 and they didn't hang their heads. They fought," Grand coach Mike Camps said. "These kids, they're heartbroken right now, but I can't be disappointed. This season has been great."
Rowland Hall successfully defends its state title.
» Grand loses for the first time this season.