ROCKFORD -- In case anyone thought Warren beating Rockford Boylan last year was a fluke, well, the Blue Devils have done it again.
Warren scored twice in the first eight minutes and went on to defeat the Titans 4-1 in the semifinals of the Class 3A Auburn boys soccer sectional in Rockford on Tuesday. The Blue Devils will face Barrington, which defeated Huntley 2-1 in Tuesday's first game, at 6 p.m. Friday for the sectional title.
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Timmy Pieper's header got Warren on the scoreboard just 67 seconds into the game. Six minutes later, Daniel Szczepanek made it 2-0.
"It's always good to take a lead in the playoffs," said Warren coach Jason Ahonen. "We're playing a quality squad tonight that's played well recently. We're just trying to go out there and do what we do best, and that's possessing the middle. And when we are dangerous, trying to be efficient and effective."
Karl Bappert and Nick Haas added second-half goals for the Blue Devils (18-5-3).
Warren continued its postseason scoring surge: the Devils scored 7 times in their regional final win against Round Lake.
Pieper's goal came on a header from point-blank range. Szczepanek scored a pretty goal. Following a long run, he sent a long shot on the ground across the goal mouth into the far corner of the net.
Both teams raced up and down the field for the rest of the half, but neither could find the back of the net. Rafa Macias rifled several shot attempts, but couldn't convert.
The second half devolved into a defensive slugfest, with neither team able to muster a solid opportunity until Bappert connected on a header following a corner kick in the 54th minute.
Boylan (15-7-1) finally got on the scoreboard in the 61st minute, but Warren answered quickly. After a long run up the left side, Haas fired in a shot from the deep corner to restore the 3-goal lead.
With the raucous Warren fans chanting, the final minutes ticked away.
"That's what this team is," Ahonen said. "It's senior leadership, guys that don't want their careers to end yet. They're just focused and dialed in, and I can't ask for anything more than what I'm getting out of them."