SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Upper Sandusky packed it in on the defensive end and hoped for the best.
That strategy worked for about five minutes.
Shawnee’s passing game then took hold and carved the Rams to bits in a 9-0 victory to win the Division II boys soccer sectional championship Thursday at Shawnee High School.
Shawnee had little trouble with the Rams, holding a 6-0 lead at the half.
Shawnee outshot Upper Sandusky, 26-1.
Shawnee (16-1) advances to the district semifinals against Ottawa-Glandorf at 5 p.m. Monday at Elida.
Upper Sandusky ends its year 8-9-1.
Austin Miller, Shawnee’s freshman with 24 goals, had two goals. His cousin, Jacob Miller, also had two goals to give him 21 this year.
Andrew Miller had two goals.
Damien Zeigler, Carter Schaaf and Brayden Ward all scored a goal for Shawnee.
The Rams started the game with eight players packed back in their own 18-yard box, with a ninth just outside it.
Shawnee, led by midfielder Carter Jensen, passed the ball through the seams and began finding shooting lanes.
“We wanted to move the ball back and forth and find the crack, then we just slam it through the crack and score some goals,” Jensen said. “Then, we put it home.’’
Added Shawnee coach Ryan Quatman, “We’ve seen that a couple of times in the WBL (Western Buckeye League) where teams pack it in and you really have to be patient and pull the ball out and make their defense give up some ground. You have to keep going at them and be patient.’’
Shawnee’s passing game and early shots on goal led to an early barrage of corner kicks.
Jensen, the WBL player of the year, sent a corner into the box.
The ball was tipped around and a scramble for the ball ensued.
Austin Miller knocked it in with his toe from the goal box and it was 1-0 Shawnee with 31:33 left in the first half.
The second goal came directly off a Jensen corner.
The ball soared into the box and Austin Miller headed it home into the upper-right corner.
“I’m putting it in where he can get it,” Jensen said. “He does the rest.’’
That gave Shawnee a 2-0 with 22:07 left in the first half.
Jensen has a school-record 23 assists in a season.
“They click,” Quatman said of Jensen and Austin Miller. “It’s a two-man game.’’
Andrew Miller then scored off a rebound shot by Jacob Miller.
That pushed the Shawnee lead to 3-0 at the 15:21 mark of the first half.
The fourth goal also started off the foot of Jensen, on his free kick from 22-yards out on the right side.
Austin Miller settled the kick and slipped it over to Andrew Miller, who pounded it home from the right side of the goal box.
“Andrew is a game player for us,” Quatman said. “The three Millers are impressive.’’
That gave Shawnee a 4-0 lead with 5:00 left in the first half.
Zeigler scored on a penalty kick to make it 5-0 with 4:16 left in the first half.
Jacob Miller’s breakaway goal made it 6-0 with 2:25 left before halftime.
Shawnee goalkeeper Landon Hoehn made one save for the shutout.
Rams goalkeeper Anson Hill had 17 saves.
Shawnee’s dominance was keyed by its midfield in its 3-5-3 formation.
Jensen, Zeigler, Schaaf, Ward and Zach Chambers all controlled the midfield and made it difficult for the Rams to ignite an offensive attack.
“We have a very strong midfield,” Quatman said. “We were a better team tonight and they couldn’t get it out of the back.’’