SNOHOMISH — About a month ago, one of the Snohomish High School boys soccer team’s biggest worries was the health of junior defender Blake Crutchfield’s right knee.
It has healed enough that he can play through the pain.
Now, Crutchfield’s arms are the worry – for opponents.
Crutchfield’s ability to make a long, accurate throw-in came into play for the second postseason in a row as his 35-yard throw off the hands of goalkeeper Jack O’Keefe was the difference. That own goal in the 71st minute was ultimately what lifted fifth-ranked Snohomish over fourth-ranked Skyline 2-1 on Saturday night in the Class 4A state quarterfinals at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.
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Crutchfield, who did the same sort of thing twice in a 3-1 triumph over Camas in the state quarterfinals last season, dialed in his throw near post and it deflected off O’Keefe and into the net for a 2-0 lead.
“Déjà vu, what can you say?” said Crutchfield, who is nursing a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee. “I looked and he was standing far post most and I kept throwing it all game there. I thought I might as well mix it up and hit near post.”
Junior Tanner Corrie got loose up the right side and shot back across inside the left corner of the net from about 6 yards out to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute. It marked the 11th goal of the season for Corrie.
Skyline’s Nick Morgan responded almost immediately after the own goal in the 72nd minute to trim the Panthers’ lead to 2-1 off an assist from Nate Hardwick.
Snohomish (18-2) moves into the final four for the eighth time in school history and draws a state semifinal matchup against No. 6 Kentwood (15-2-3) on Friday at 8 p.m. at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
Skyline ends the season 14-2-3.
It was the first meeting in state action for two of the current premier boys soccer programs in the state.
Panthers goalkeeper Ryan Peters was jostled around repeatedly, but he passed the test in the physical contest. Peters made eight saves, including a diving grab at the left post of an Armeen Badri blast in added time of the 80th minute.
“We were unfortunate to concede,” Skyline coach Don Braman said. “Sometimes this is a cruel game.”
There was doubt about Crutchfield’s return from a midseason injury.
“Coming off the injury, I feel 100 percent,” he said. “But the five weeks I missed has kind of been showing when I’m out there. I still feel it. I’m trying to get back in the groove and keep going.”
The Panthers have won six matches in a row and are 16-1 since a 1-0 nonleague loss to Skyline on March 22.