FORT WALTON BEACH – Heading into Tuesday night’s District 2-3A semifinal, Choctaw’s boys’ soccer program had already played opponent Milton twice in the regular season, and both resulted in shutout victories for the Indians.
That dominance continued Tuesday night.
Shane Nicholson, Dominik Jordan and Sean Hofstatter all scored goals, and Choctaw’s defense limited Milton to just four shots on goal in a 3-0 win. The victory puts Choctaw in the district tournament championship game Friday night at home against Rutherford.
“We were a little sloppy,” said Choctaw head coach Chris McDaniel, who watched his team improve to 18-2-2 on the season. “You’d hope we’ll play better Friday night against Rutherford, but we’ll see. Defensively tonight, we were solid, but we’ve been solid back there all year.
“We didn’t pass well, and we missed a bunch of open looks.”
Choctaw out-shot Milton 18-4 on the night, and led 1-0 at the half. Nicholson opened the scoring midway through the first half, converting a turnover at midfield into a one-on-one opportunity with the Milton keeper. Nicholson calmly drilled a shot just inside the right post to give Choctaw the 1-0 lead, which would never be challenged.
“We got that off our defense,” said McDaniel. “When we can attack out of the back like that, we’re pretty good. Shane did a good job there.”
Emerging out of halftime with a 1-0 lead, it didn’t take long for Choctaw to put the game out of reach, as Hofstatter and Jordan scored twice in a five-minute span to push the lead to 3-0.
Hofstatter’s goal was similar to Nicholson’s, as he drove through the Milton defense to put himself in a one-on-one situation before converting, while Jordan’s goal came on a beautiful feed inside the box from Hofstatter.
Now assured of a Class 3A playoff spot, Choctaw will play for the district title Friday night at home.