HAMPDEN — There were still 10 seconds or so remaining on the clock when the Mount View boys soccer team began the celebration at midfield, followed soon after by the players from the bench.

It’s hard to blame the Mustangs for the head start. It’s been a while since they’ve had a win like this.

Elijah Allen scored twice, including the game-winner with 14:49 left in the first half, Ricky Nelson delivered a bravura performance in goal and No. 3 Mount View reached its first state final in 39 years, beating No. 4 George Stevens 3-1 in the Class C North championship at Hampden Academy.

Mount View senior captain Elijah Allen, right, battles George Stevend defender Lars Hooper for the ball during the Class C North championship game Tuesday night at Hampden Academy. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson

“That’s been the goal since the beginning of the summer, basically,” said Allen, who also assisted on a goal scored by Brennan Grant. “We just had to get here, and now that we’ve gotten here it’s a pretty great feeling.”

Mount View improved to 15-2-0, while George Stevens finished its run at 11-3-3.

“As a team, each one of these kids has risen every game,” coach Jeremy Von Oesen said. “They step up to the plate every game and play better and better.”

Mount View struck first, but George Stevens responded and was looking for momentum as the teams went past the 15-minute mark of the first half. The Mustangs had the ball deep in the Eagles’ end when Allen got a throw-in and curled the ball with his left foot from just in front of the goal line on the right side. The ball skidded through the goal box and ended up in the net, giving Mount View a 2-1 lead.

“I beat the man, just crossed it in trying to aim for one of our guys, and it bounced in,” Allen said. “Getting the lead back was pretty important before halftime.”

It was Allen again with 29:23 left in the game. The senior captain fought off a pair of Eagles defenders for a loose ball, then quickly planted and drove a shot from the top of the penalty box into the right side of the net.

“Putting it in the back of the net is always a good feeling,” Allen said. “When we scored the third one, I felt like that sealed the game for us.”

Von Oesen said Allen’s been delivering for the team all season.

“He just does everything every day. He’s got a work engine like no other,” Von Oesen said. “He wins every ball around him, he gets clipped here and there and fights through. … He just never quits.”

The Eagles didn’t give in, however, and peppered Nelson with shots throughout both halves. The rain never let up all game and the ball got slippery, but the junior held tough, at one point stopping the Eagles on a pair of point-blank chances in the 47th and 48th minutes with the score still 2-1.

Under fire throughout the game, Nelson leaned on his fundamentals.

“I wouldn’t say (it’s) stressful. You’ve got a lot of adrenaline, and you have one thing in mind: Where’s the ball and how can I get to it?” Nelson said. “One of the biggest things is always being behind the ball, and in a rainy time like this where everything’s slippery, your gloves are soaked, you’ve just got to get the ball away.”

Nelson’s work caught the eye of his coach.

“We gave up more shots than we typically do, but Ricky was on top of it,” Von Oesen. “It was an all-out gutsy effort, and he’s really come a long way from last year.”

When Nelson couldn’t be there, fortune smiled on the Mustangs. He saved a shot in the 46th minute but a pair of George Stevens players over-ran the rebound, and in the 68th minute the Eagles had a perfect through ball into the left side of the penalty box, but David Gadsby’s golden chance ricocheted off of a teammate who was also pursuing the ball.

“They took advantage of the opportunities they had, we just couldn’t get one in,” Eagles coach Mark Ensworth said. “We knew we were going to get opportunities, it was just whether we would finish them or not.”

Mount View’s Noah Jacobs enjoys a quiet moment after the Mustangs sank George Stevens Academy in the Class C North title game Tuesday night in Hampden. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson

Mount View took its first lead with 31:53 left in the first half. Allen had the ball on a rush and, after Eagles keeper Parker Allen committed to him, passed the ball up the left side. Grant chased the ball down before it went out of bounds and booted it into the open net for a 1-0 lead.

“We kept the pace up and we kept passing, kept our tempo moving,” Grant said. “We always believe in each other, never give up on each other.”

The Eagles tied it with 21:50 to go in the first half when Gadsby fired a shot from the left side of the box into the top right corner of the goal.

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