HURRICANES 2 WARRIORS 0
PALM HARBOR – The last time Palm Harbor University was on its home field with a title on the line, the
Hurricanes watched Northeast pass around county championship medals after succumbing to a fired-up
PHU wasn’t about to let that happen two weeks in a row.
“We wanted this one because we got knocked out of our own tournament, we went to the PCAC title
and were tied 1-1 and thought we would win but didn’t – we were just disappointed,” junior Hampton
Lombard said after scoring both of PHU’s goals in a 2-0 Class 5A District 7 final victory over visiting
The teams played to a scoreless draw in the first half and much of those final 15 minutes were spent with
the Warriors controlling possession. The Hurricanes had a couple early near-misses, but Steinbrenner
took advantage of a steady wind at its back for much of the first 40 minutes.
The Warriors went back at it when the second half began and nearly struck first on Jonathan Partlow’s
corner kick that Jonathan Partlow that Mason Linker headed a little wide of the near post.
PHU junior Hampton Lombard, No. 11, celebrates with teammates after scoring his second of two goals during the Hurricanes’ 2-0 win over
When PHU created its next quality attack, the ’Canes didn’t miss. Senior Beau Pearson dropped a
beautifully placed cross to the top of the penalty area that allowed Lombard to beat his defender, control
the ball and beat the Steinbrenner keeper.
“Beau Pearson. He sent a beautiful cross right over the defender. Honestly he did the work, I just tapped
it in,” Lombard said of the first goal.
The junior was finding the back of the net about three minutes later. Steinbrenner almost repelled PHU’s
swarming attack in the penalty area, but Lombard found a loose ball and put it away.
PHU wanted this district championship – its third in a row – and it was evident by players’ and coaches’
high-energy celebration after the final whistles.
“We taped them against Wiregrass and really studied hard to get prepared for them,” PHU coach Wipoj
Huse said. “I think we out-strategized them a little bit, prepared a little bit better than they did, and just
missed our chances there in the beginning.
“They’re a good team and I’m sure we’ll see them again in the region semifinals. That’s my opinion but
we’ll be ready.”
The victory allows PHU to stay home for next Wednesday’s Class 5A region quarterfinal against Sarasota
Riverview. The Rams were blown out 8-0 by Bradenton Lakewood Ranch in the District 5A-8 final.
Steinbrenner will travel to Lakewood Ranch and has now lost to PHU three straight years in the district
tournament. Fortunately for the Warriors, this year’s defeat came in the finals instead of suffering seasonending
losses in the semis like they did in 2016 and 2015.