A rivalry renamed: Braves win inaugural Roundtown Classic

They’ve been meeting on the pitch for quite a while, but this year meant a little more as the Circleville/Logan Elm boys soccer game has been rebranded as the Roundtown Classic with the winning team taking possession of a new traveling trophy. 

For the next year that trophy will be at Logan Elm as the Braves beat the Tigers 2-0 Monday night. 

“There was a lot of energy spent and they weren’t going to act tired, they aren’t coming out of this game. It meant the world to them to compete in this, especially upping the rivalry adding a trophy,” LE coach Aaron Elswick said. “We’ve been on the losing end of this rivalry for decades and this is our fourth in a row, so it meant something to this class to keep this going.”

“We knew it was going to be a battle both ways. I’ve got a lot of respect for what coach Elswick does over there,” Circleville coach Evan Callihan said. “He was one of the first ones, when I got this job, to reach out to me. He’s been very supportive, and he’s really grown that program and they’ll be good next year.”

Logan Elm’s Dawsen Hudson (2) gave the Braves a first-half lead. (see more game photos)

Logan Elm cracked the scoreboard in the first half with a goal from junior Dawsen Hudson. 

“He was pressing high, got the ball from the defenders and it was a rocket of a shot,” Elswick said. “I haven’t seen that kid hit the ball that hard, and I’ve coached him for three years now and I don’t think I’ve seen him hit the ball that hard. We haven’t seen a keeper this year that was going to make that save.”

With the clock winding down under three minutes in the second half, junior Hussain Sharif added an insurance goal to seal the win for the Braves.

“It was like deja-vu,” Elswick said, “this rivalry game last year it was 1-nothing back and forth and Hussain collected a ball late and did the exact same thing for us. 

“He worked hard and found his goal.”

“They just converted more than us tonight,” Callihan said. “We played a lot of young guys and put them in a lot of new spots defensively and in the midfield. I thought we played our butts off and they just converted. We had a few chances where I felt like we had the opportunities to score. When we miss those opportunities in a game like this, it’s tough to get those opportunities back.

“Our guys played with a lot of fight, energy and effort; we just didn’t fall on the right side of things tonight.”

Hussain Sharif (20) added an insurance goal with less than three minutes remaining Monday night to preserve Logan Elm’s win. (see more game photos)

The Braves look to keep the momentum of the win going as they head to Liberty Union Tuesday and Jackson Thursday before the postseason begins next Monday at Westfall. 

“Hopefully we’re building some momentum and we’re picking up some steam,” Elswick said. “We’ve got the play-in game with Westfall, so hopefully that’s successful for us and we get a trip to Marietta.”

It was the final home regular season game for Circleville and the team’s seven seniors (Justin Darnell, Slater Search, Liam Goodhart, Josiah Gaines, Luke Stout, Hayden Liff and Johnnie Bocook) were recognized in between games Monday. 

“I’m so proud of them. It hasn’t been easy when you’ve been through several coaches and when you’re not winning, it’s tough. I’ve been there in seasons like that,” Callihan said. “They’ve stayed the course. Those habits they’ve developed over the last few years when adversity has hit them in the face, and they keep showing up. It would have been very easy not to. They keep going. 

“When you hear what their plans are after high school, and I know they’re going to be nothing but successful just with what they’ve done here. With those habits they’ve developed, I’m proud of each and every one of them.”

Circleville wraps up the regular season at Fairfield Union Wednesday and hosts Sheridan in tournament action Monday.

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