Orange Scores Six Goals in 25 Minutes to Rally Past White Oak 6-2; Earns 1st Playoff Win Since ‘09

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Updated: November 3, 2017

Photo by Troy Miller

On Saturday, Jamar Davis will do something he’s never done before.

He’ll play a high school soccer game. And he’s responsible for that, as are his 11 classmates responsible for Orange’s first state playoff win since 2009.

The Panthers, trailing 2-0 to White Oak just eight minutes into the game at Vikings Stadium, stormed back to stun the Vikings 6-2 in extra time on Wednesday night in Jacksonville. Davis finished with his third hat trick of the season, including the equalizer late in the first half.

Luke Wirzba score the game-winning goal in the opening ten-minute overtime session. Davis, Wirzba and R.J. Pherribo all scored in the 2nd overtime.

Orange (14-6-2) eliminated a White Oak team that finished runner-up in the Coastal Conference, but came into the state playoffs with a victory over crosstown rival Jacksonville, who won the Coastal crown.

On the other hand, Orange had lost three of its last four, including a 3-1 loss on senior night to Northern Durham.

In the end, Orange Coach Palmer Bowman believes the new Big 8 Conference, including powerhouses Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill, prepared his team well for the field of 64.

“Every night in our league is a battle,” said Bowman. “The Northern game got us focusing on going back to basics. We had a strong week of practice and we worked on our crosses. We stayed patient tonight and found the right passing lanes.”

”We have the hardest 3A Conference in the state,” said Wirzba. “Our conference prepares us well for the playoff schedule. Any team we play in the playoffs, we’ve played a team just as good, if not better.”

Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill both won its opening round games on Wednesday.

Davis also assisted on the game-winning goal by Wirzba and the overtime insurance by Pherribo. Ewan McCallum assisted on Wirzba’s equalizer.

Orange goalkeeper Noah Miller finished with eleven saves to keep the Vikings scoreless in the final 90 minutes after yielding two goals in the opening ten minutes.

“Our coaches say 2-0 is always the worst lead to have,” said Davis. “It’s just enough to let you get confident. It allowed us to capitalize. I think they let down their guard a little bit. Once we got a goal, a couple followed.”

Davis says despite the 2-0 deficit at the half, there was no panic inside the Orange locker room. There was focus.

“The entirety of the second half was us pounding on them,” said Davis. “Everything was going forward for us.”

On Saturday, Orange travels to Northern Guilford in the 2nd round of the 3A state playoffs. The Nighthawks, who went 14-0 in the Mid-State Conference, are 18-3-2 overall.  Game time will be 6.

The winner advances to the round of 16 to face either Topsail or Southern Lee.

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