By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
ALMEDIA -- For almost 50 minutes of the District 4 Class AA boys soccer playoffs on Wednesday night, it was the goalies who were stealing the show.
Then the Shikellamy offense came alive with three second-half goals to advance to Saturday's quarterfinals against undefeated Lewisburg at a time and place to be announced.
Neither team scored in the first half thanks to the play of the goalies.
"Jersey Shore controlled the game in the first half but Justin (Engle) came up but for us and our guys know they can count on him back there as the last line of defense for us," Shikellamy head coach Jon Steese said.
The Braves (11-6-2) didn't have a corner kick until 22 minutes into the game.
They had several scoring chances in the first half including senior Taylor Edwards' 30-yard kick which was hauled in just short of the crossbar by Bulldogs goalie Austin Baier before the end of the half.
Clayton Newton gave Jersey Shore a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute when he got behind a Shikellamy defender and sliding on the turf, kicked the ball into the open net with a left-footed shot.
The play actually began when the ball was headed over Shikellamy goalie Justin Engle.
Prior to the play, Engle made back-to-back great plays off corner kicks when he deflected one to the side of the goal and another he corralled off a header.
Jersey Shore stared to apply pressure early in the second half when Evan Jenkins took a shot that was heading for the far post only to have Engle make a diving save.
"He's (Engle) has been making those kids of plays all year," Steese said. That was a turning point in the game."
Shikellamy tied the game at one all with 22 minutes to play off a direct free kick when Ian Snyder curled the ball around the Bulldogs wall and just inside the right post.
"We've been working on that in practice this week and we play games to see how far we can bend the ball as we scored six or seven goals at the beginning of the year off of those shots," Steese added.
With less then 15 minutes left in regulation, Ian Snyder's shot was deflected in off the chest of Drayton Laverio, giving the Braves a 2-1 lead.
Engle came up with another big save late in the game when Jersey Shore after Evan Jenkins' shot as he used a Shik defender as a screen. The Braves came right back with a breakaway goal by junior Seth Burk to make it a 3-1 game with just six minutes left.
"Ian (Snyder) and Drayton (Laverio) are just incredible players and Drayton might be one of the best players around with body control," Steese said.
For the Braves, it was an impressive win given that they haven't been postseason bound since 2009. Last year, Shikellamy went 2-16 on the year and are now in the quarterfinals of districts.
The win also marked the first postseason win for Shikellamy since 2005, when the Braves advanced to the Districts 2-4 Class AAA semifinals against Wyoming Valley West.
The Braves lost in 2009 to Mifflinburg in the first round of the Class AA playoffs and lost to Warrior Run in 2006 in the Class AA quarterfinals.