OAK HILL — Winning soccer championships at Oak Hill is old hat. This year, however, it takes on new meaning in Chad Smith’s eyes.
Led by two more goals from Jack Hayes, the Red Devils defeated Woodrow Wilson 3-1 Saturday to claim the Class AAA Region 3, Section 2 championship.
Oak Hill made its return to the state's highest classification this season after a four-year run in Class AA.
The Red Devils went on to lose 5-0 to perennial power George Washington in the Region 3 title game Tuesday.
"We had the opportunity to win our fifth sectional, but this one is extra special because there was one 'A' added to that plaque we just got," Smith, Oak Hill's interim head coach, said Saturday.
The Red Devils have had a successful first season back in Class AAA, with seven wins in nine games. Their only loss was 4-0 to Class AA power Scott, which is 13-0-1 and won its sectional championship Saturday.
Oak Hill also battled Woodrow Wilson to a 1-1 draw on Oct. 6. Hayes did his part to add a little distance this time around.
The Flying Eagles (7-5-4) trailed 2-0 at halftime but controlled the ball more effectively in the second half and got on the board in the 51st minute when Evan Laraba scored on a ball that just bounced over the goal line. They had a couple of near-misses, and Oak Hill keeper Chance Minor kept them at bay just long enough for Hayes to make it a two-goal game with his shot from about 20 yards in the 67th minute.
Hayes also scored in the 37th minute off an assist from Colton Workman and now has 12 goals in nine games.
"I had three things for the boys to come into tonight," Smith said. "No. 1 was just play with your heart, a hundred percent effort and want it more than the other team. The second one was (be) mentally tough. If the call wasn't your way, get back and take care of it on the field. And the third one and most important, and what I stress as a coach is straight-up teamwork and brotherhood. This is a team sport that we all have to put the effort in. That doesn't mean if you're the one that's expecting to score or if you're the 22nd person on the bench, everybody had a role to do tonight to take care of and that’s what they did."
Woodrow was coming off Thursday's dramatic 4-3 shootout win over Greenbrier East in the semifinals. Coach Steve Laraba gave full credit to Oak Hill, but thought his team was still feeling the effects of Thursday’s marathon.
"Oak Hill was great. They played very well," Laraba said. "I don't want this to sound like I’m taking anything away from them, but we just were not able to recover from the hundred minutes versus Greenbrier East. I think it was pretty obvious in the first half we just didn't have the juice in our batteries. The second half, we had a talk and they responded. We hit the crossbar twice, hit a post once. Their third goal was the first shot-on-goal they had in the second half, and they buried it.
"That's what it came down to, but fair play to Oak Hill. They played it extremely well and they were the better team on the night."
The Red Devils took a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute on a direct kick by Ty Carr.