MADISON TOWNSHIP — Gage Johnson celebrated his 18th birthday in style Tuesday afternoon at STARTEK Stadium.
A senior midfielder, Johnson scored a long-range goal in the 58th minute and Gage Weaver added to his singe-season scoring record with a pair of goals as the Warriors cruised to a 3-0 win over Madison.
The match was scoreless midway through the second half before Johnson broke the ice. His shot from about 35 yards caught everybody off guard and gave the Warriors (10-4-1) a 1-0 lead.
“Usually I don’t think I’ll make those because I usually sail them,” said Johnson, who turned 18 Tuesday. “I just kept my composure and did what I had to do.”
Weaver made it 2-0 two minutes later. The high-scoring junior forward then added an insurance goal off an assist from Zain Fulmer with 18:13 remaining, giving him 29 goals on the season.
“We knew once we got one, we would get a couple more,” Ontario coach Chris McClenathan said. “(Madison) had a good game plan. They played a lot of defense and shut us down in the first half.
“It’s tough to keep these guys down for a whole game.”
The Rams (5-8-2) were playing their third match in four days. Madison dropped a 4-3 decision at Elyria on Monday after beating Willard 3-1 on Saturday.
“I challenged the guys to step up and make it a game and they did. They responded,” Madison coach Tim Lord said. “We played last night in a really tough game. I think we had six or seven guys play 80 minutes and they were right back at it tonight.
"That’s what I love about this team. They just keep fighting.”
Madison closes out the regular season Thursday, hosting Marion Harding. The Rams open postseason play at Toledo St. John’s on Oct. 21.
“I like challenges,” Lord said. “No one expects us to win, but let’s give them everything we can.”
Ontario hosts Richfield Revere on Saturday to close the regular season. The Warriors open tournament play at home against Mansfield Senior on Oct. 18.
“We know we’re going to have a target,” McClenathan said. “It’s a good tournament tune-up.”