Okeechobee Brahman soccer advances to district championship

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee High School Brahmans boys soccer team defeated the Martin County Tigers 4-3 on Wednesday, Jan. 31, to advance to the district championship.

They’ll face the district-leading Forest Hill Falcons at 7 tonight, Feb. 2, at Jensen Beach High School.

The Brahmans lost their season opener to Forest Hill 3-0 back on Nov. 16, but then proceeded to go on a nine-game winning streak. OHS Brahman coach Lonnie Sears had confidence in his team’s athletes early in the season but conceded that they needed to increase their soccer knowledge if they wanted to make a playoff run.

Okeechobee High School junior Gauge Ingram heads the ball away from the Brahman goal during Okeechobee’s match against Vero Beach on Jan. 9. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. Photo by Richard Marion.

With a full season under their belt, it appears the Brahmans have done just that.

Okeechobee’s defense has been stout all year, with the Brahmans having shut out seven opponents during their 2017 season.

In contrast, Forest Hill has had only four shutouts all year, but one of the shutouts did come against Okeechobee while the other three came in the Falcons’ last three games.

Forest Hill had a record of 9-3-5 during the regular season but managed to go 4-0-3 in district games. Okeechobee finished with a 12-3-3 record heading into the district championship.

If the Brahmans can overcome Forest Hill, they’ll move on to the regional quarterfinals on Feb. 7. It would be the Brahmans’ first trip back to the quarterfinals since 2012.

The path to the state championship would take them through the regional tournament semifinals on Feb. 10, then the regional tournament finals on Feb. 14.

The penultimate Florida high school state semifinals would follow that on Feb. 17, with the state championship games being played on Feb 22 and Feb. 24.

But first, Okeechobee will have to avenge their season-opening loss to Forest Hill and defeat the Falcons. The game will be played on neutral turf at Jensen Beach High School, so supporters and fans are encouraged to come out and show some support to your Brahmans as they attempt to win the district championship tonight at 7.

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