BELLVILLE — Alex Depperschmidt couldn’t remember the last time he scored three goals in a game, but Lexington’s junior midfielder won’t soon forget Thursday’s hat trick.
Depperschmidt scored his second and third goals during a 34-second span in the second half as the top-seeded Minutemen won their fourth straight soccer district title with a 6-3 win over No. 2 Ontario at the Colt Corral.
Lexington (14-1-4) has won nine in a row and will play either Columbus Watterson or Granville in the regional semifinals Wednesday at a site and time to be determined. Watterson and Granville play at 7 p.m. Saturday at New Albany High School.
“It’s been a long time, probably since 10U or something like that,” Depperschmidt said when asked about his last hat trick. “I was lucky enough to have it happen tonight.
“There’s always something special about the district final and playing your rival. It gets the adrenalin going.”
Lexington scored its first goal just 18 seconds into the match when Depperschmidt headed a pass to Gage Potter, who snuck his right-footed shot past Ontario keeper Omar Abdelaziz with 39:42 showing on the clock.
About 12 minutes later, Depperschmidt took a pass from Jaxson Husty, settled it with a touch then left-footed a shot past Abdelaziz from 20 yards out for a 2-0 lead with 27:02 to play in the first half.
Depperschmidt was involved in a match-changing play 12 minutes later. He appeared to have a break-away but was taken down from behind by Jordon Bulakovski, who was shown a red card and sent off with 16:28 to play in the first half. Ontario was forced to play a man down the rest of the match.
“It doesn’t necessarily change a whole lot,” Ontario coach Chris McClenathan said of playing a man down. “You are short one person and you have to sacrifice somewhere.
“Sometimes it re-focuses the kids.”
That was the case for the Warriors (13-6-1), who trailed 2-0 at the intermission but took a spirited McClenathan halftime speech to heart. Ontario cut Lex’s lead to 2-1 with 36:58 to play when high-scoring forward Gage Weaver took a pass from Gage Johnson and left-footed a shot past Lex keeper Garet Weaver.
“We made it 2-1 and we’re back in the game,” McClenathan said. “Just unfortunate bounces and miscues. We had no luck on our side today.”
It would stay that way until Depperschmidt struck again with 25:02 remaining. He took a pass from Dan Elgin and squeezed a shot into the upper right corner of the goal for a 3-1 lead. Just 34 seconds later, Depperschmidt got loose behind the Ontario defense and sent a left-footed shot past Abdelaziz for a 4-1 lead with 24:28 remaining.
“I just expect that from Al. For him to come out and do that, that’s what Al does,” Lex coach Peter Them said. “He’s so shifty. He can get into some tight places. At the beginning of the season he was doing those things but we weren’t connecting. We weren’t putting all the pieces put together.
“To get all those pieces put together feels great. We’re clicking at the right time.”
Lexington extended its lead to 5-2 when Husty ran a nifty give-and-go with Potter and sent a left-footed shot home with 8:29 remaining. Ontario cut it to 5-3 on Weaver’s second goal of the game with 4:29 to play, but Lex iced it when Andrew Laury scored on a penalty kick with 2:31 left after he was fouled in the box to make it 6-3.
“You don’t want to give up three goals but when you double the score line on the other side I think it’s all right,” Them said. “I said if we could get two (goals) and defend, we’d be all right.”
The loss brought an end to the high school careers of 14 Ontario seniors.
“They’re a great group of kids,” McClenathan said. “They work hard. They left everything they had.
“They’re a great group of kids and they’re going to be a great group of adults once they get out in the real world.”