Late Strikes Net Skyline 2nd Finals Win

November 3, 2018

By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half

NOVI – On a sunny, albeit chilly, fall Saturday afternoon, lightning still managed to strike at Novi High School during the Division 1 boys soccer championship game. 

But instead of from the sky above, it came on the field from Ann Arbor Skyline. 

In a game seemingly destined for overtime and a shootout, Skyline unexpectedly struck quickly, scoring two goals in a span of 58 seconds late in the second half to earn a 2-0 win over East Kentwood.

It was the second Division 1 title since 2015 for Skyline, and the first time in six MHSAA Finals appearances since 2007 that East Kentwood didn’t take home the championship trophy. 

The game was scoreless until there was 9:42 left, when Skyline junior Jamie Balms sent in a service to the top portion of the box.

Sophomore Gabe Kellman flicked it with his foot deeper into the box to junior Chris Emerson, who with his back to the goal did a mini bicycle kick and flicked a shot with his right leg into the goal to make it 1-0 Skyline.

“I turned my back and hit it,” Emerson said. “It was crazy. I couldn’t even explain it.”

It didn’t take long for the Eagles to add an insurance goal.

Just 58 seconds later, junior Oskar Shiomi-Jensen sent a cross into the box, and junior Bryce Schaner headed it into the goal to make it 2-0 Skyline. 

“We knew it was going to be a set piece or some sort of breakdown,” Skyline head coach Chris Morgan said. “We just told them before the game started and throughout the game. We said to ‘trust, trust, trust.’ And we got it. That was all it was.”

It was a stunning offensive outburst after a game that mostly featured stout defensive play and few quality scoring chances. 

That was expected going in, since Skyline had allowed just 11 goals on the season, while East Kentwood entered with five consecutive shutouts. 

Skyline remained firm defensively despite dealing with a rash of injuries throughout the year that cost the Eagles six starters.

But ultimately, Skyline’s depth on the backline showed through.

“They did an outstanding job,” Morgan said. “We didn’t make any subs in the back throughout the whole tournament. Hats off to those boys.”

For East Kentwood, it was definitely a strange feeling taking home the runner-up trophy.

The Falcons had won all five of their championship matches since 2007, the last a shootout win over Troy Athens in the 2016 Final. 

“We fell asleep on a set piece, and obviously Skyline is very good on set pieces, so you have to give them credit,” East Kentwood head coach John Conlon said. “Soccer is a game of inches, and they won the inches when it mattered.”

Conlon also praised the Skyline defense, which he knew would be a challenge before the game – and it played out that way.

“It’s hard to generate much against their team,” Conlon said. “It was a heavyweight bout, and two guys are trying to land punches. They finally landed a punch, and we couldn’t get one off.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Skyline’s Jamie Palms leads his team across the field in celebration of their Division 1 championship win. (Middle) Skyline’s Gabe Kellman (16) and East Kentwood’s Samuel Olson work to gain possession Saturday.

Be the Referee: Soccer Offside

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

June 4, 2024

Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

Below is this week's segment – Soccer Offside - Listen

We have an offside situation in soccer to talk about today. The offense sends a long pass from their own half of the field to a teammate way down at the defensive team’s 18-yard line … but she’s offside.

The assistant referee raises her flag and the referee blows her whistle for offside, and an indirect free kick is given to the defense. Where do they take the kick from?

  • Is it the spot where the offside player was when the assistant referee raised her flag?
  • The spot where the ball was when play was stopped?
  • The point of the infraction?
  • Or the spot from where the ball was originally passed?

If you said “at the point of the infraction” you are correct. In this case, the defense gets an indirect free kick where the offside occurred.

Previous Editions

May 28: Appeal Play - Listen
May 21: Lacrosse Foul in Critical Scoring Area - Listen
May 14: Avoiding the Tag - Listen
May 7: Baseball Pitch Count - Listen
April 30: Boys Lacrosse Helmets - Listen
April 23: Softball Interference - Listen
April 16: Soccer Red Card - Listen
April 9: Batted Baseball Hits Runner - Listen
March 12: Basketball Replay - Listen
March 5: Hockey Officials - Listen
Feb. 27: Less Than 5 - Listen
Feb. 20: Air Ball - Listen
Feb. 13: Hockey Penalties - Listen
Jan. 30: Wrestling Tiebreakers - Listen
Jan. 23: Wrestling Technology - Listen
Jan. 9: 3 Seconds - Listen
Dec. 19: Unsuspecting Hockey Hits - Listen
Dec. 12: No More One-And-Ones - Listen
Nov. 21: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 14: Volleyball Unplayable Areas - Listen
Nov. 7: Pass/Kick Off Crossbar - Listen
Oct. 31: Cross Country Interference - Listen
Oct. 24: Soccer Overtime - Listen
Oct. 17: Tennis Spin - Listen
Oct. 10: Blocked Kick - Listen
Oct. 3: Volleyball Double & Lift - Listen
Sept. 26: Registration Process - Listen
Sept. 20: Animal Interference - Listen
Sept. 13: Feet Rule on Soccer Throw-In - Listen
Sept. 6: Volleyball Jewelry - Listen
Aug. 30: Football Rules Similarities - Listen
Aug. 23: Football Rules Differences - Listen

(Photo by Gary Shook.)