Jeremy Chappell and Austin Tumbarello admitted Mount Airy came out a little too confident to start its third-round match in the 1A NCHSAA playoffs against Walkertown. Mount Airy outscored the Wolfpack 15-4 in two dominating regular-season wins.
Mount Airy’s brashness turned into a 1-0 deficit early in the first half, but Walkertown’s opening goal proved to be a wake-up call to the Bears (18-5-1). They responded with a clinical offensive performance in an 8-3 win to advance to the fourth round.
“I think we all came in to this game having big heads since we beat them twice already,” Tumbarello said. “It definitely woke us up.”
Chappell was at a loss of words when trying to describe Mount Airy’s slow start, but the senior teamed up with Tumbarello and Jose Perez to score all eight of the Granite Bears’ goals. Chappell himself tallied four scores.
Walkertown (9-11-1) opened the game with a ton of possession in the Mount Airy half of the field, but the Wolfpack didn’t create substantial opportunities with its time on the ball.
Still, Walkertown scored first on a 30-yard strike from Angel Saguilan-Quiterio, who received a layoff pass from Jon Oldham and blasted his shot just above the outstretched arms of Bear goalie Jesus Orozco with 23 minutes remaining in the first half.
Mount Airy wasted no time getting back on track and scored 45 seconds later. Malcolm Malone sent in a long throw from the right sideline, over the Walkertown defense and straight to Tumbarello. The freshman used his head to guide his shot past the Walkertown goalie for the 1-1 tie.
Chappell began his scoring spree with 15 minutes left in the first half. Perez sent a crisp through ball right down the middle of the Walkertown back line and Chappell converted his one-on-one opportunity to give Mount Airy a 2-1 lead.
“I watched their offside check and they would step up, so I watched that and got the boys to play the ball to me and beat the back line,” Chappell said. “I got the keeper one-on-one, and that’s where I defeated them.”
Perez got his name on the score sheet eight minutes later. The senior forward used multiple step-overs to give himself some space inside the Walkertown penalty box and blasted a left-footed shot far post for a 3-1 lead.
The Bears carried this advantage into halftime, but they refused to rest on their laurels and extended their lead to 4-1 inside the first minute of the second half on Perez’s second goal of the match.
Walkertown got some life back in the 46th minute with a goal from Kairo Medel-Quiterio to make the score 4-2, but a Wolfpack red card gave Mount Airy an extra man for the final 27 minutes, and the Bears took advantage.
Within five minutes after the sending off, Tumbarello scored once and Chappell got his hat trick with two more goals to give Mount Airy a 7-2 lead.
Walkertown scored off a free kick with 16 minutes remaining, but Chappell’s fourth and final goal of the night gave Mount Airy its final score of 8-3.
Chappell and Perez are two seniors who have sparked the Mount Airy offense all year long. The two Bears have 63 goals between them, and there was only one thing on Coach Will Hurley’s mind after watching their performance Wednesday.
“One more year, please,” Hurley said. “It really is awesome, cause I know we always have a shot if we can get the ball up there. We can score, and we’ve scored all year, and it’s a great feeling.”
Mount Airy won’t learn who its fourth-round opponent will be until Thursday night. The Granite Bears will face the winner of a third-round match between Starmount and conference rival Bishop McGuinness. Mount Airy split its meetings against the Villains during the season.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16