By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
EAST RIVER —
The Class AA Region 3, Section 2 championship rests again with the PikeView Panthers. PikeView defeated the Bluefield Beavers 10-0 on a cold, snowy night at the East River Soccer Complex.
“It’s really good to have the sectional championship back at PikeView,” said Panthers coach Bill Hopkins. “Three out of the last four years we’ve won it. The boys came out to play tonight, without a doubt.”
The game was scoreless for the first 13 minutes then PikeView put the scoreboard operator to work. Seth Wood scored the game’s first goal. Ten minutes later Alec White had his first of two in the game. In the 31st minute Beau Smith made it 3-0 and less than a minute later White found the back of the net once again to put the Panthers up 4-nil.
The final goal of the first half was from Smith and PikeView carried a 5-0 advantage into the break.
The Panthers wasted little time scoring in the second half. Seven minutes in Hunter Klein got his first goal of the match, then Gene Weatherly made it 7-0 just six minutes later.
About three minutes after Weatherly’s score, Smith got the hat trick by scoring his third goal of the game. The Panthers’ final two scores came from Brandon Calfee and Blake Hopkins to make it 10-0 and move PikeView into regional play next Thursday at the East River Soccer Complex against either Pocahontas County, Midland Trail or Nicholas County.
Bluefield finished the season with an 11-10-1 schedule and coach Robb Williams paid kudos to the Panthers and then spoke about his own team.
“Obviously PikeView is the No. 3 team in the state for a reason. They came out here and proved it tonight,” Williams said. “When we play them they are not my favorite team, but when we don’t play them I wish them well. I hope they bring home a state championship to Mercer County.
“Our guys didn’t give up. We tried to change the tempo. We moved more people up to try to score and unfortunately that didn’t work for us. We started four freshmen and only two upperclassmen. We look forward to next year as we have a lot of young talent returning.”
PikeView was able to get valuable playing time for its younger players, although the Panthers only have four seniors, two of them starters, on the team.
“It makes them feel so good. Some of our younger guys scored some goals and we held them scoreless, which I think is a big deal, to get on the field and be productive,” Hopkins said. “We’ve got a strong team from top to bottom. It’s awful good to get some of the younger guys in and get them used to winning and being a part of it.”
The Panthers, now 15-4-1, return to the pitch Thursday in regional play at the East River Soccer Complex. Game time will be 7:30 p.m.
— Contact Bob Redd at