John Erardi reports:
He’s got the name of a former major league baseball slugger, the build of a budding PGA Tour golfer and the right foot of a NFL kicker.
Jack Clark, all 5-feet-8 and 140 pounds of him, was crowned Saturday – along with 23 of his Mason High School teammates – Ohio Division I boys state soccer champions, completing an undefeated (22-0-1) season with a 1-0 victory over Mentor that had come in undefeated as well (now 18-1-4).
How sweet it is.
‘‘He’s amazing,’’ said teammate Gary Zhao, the sophomore midfielder who from the right side saw Clark coming up the middle and chipped a shot over the head of a defender and dropped it right in Clark’s path.
- Photos: Comets win state soccer title
‘‘I knew what was going to next. When Jack is one-on-one with a goalie… ‘’
If there’s poetic justice in soccer, it was fulfilled with a little over 17 minutes left to play at Crew Stadium in the north-end goal backed by a U.S. flag starched straight toward Lake Erie by a 20-mile-an-hour wind.
Fulfilled, because Clark – who came into this game with 30 goals for the season (and 72 in his high school career) – made his 31st the game-winner.
Certainly, there was irony in it.
Irony, because Clark is best-known for a wickedly hard shot that he delivers with the precision of an arrow going into a bull’s-eye.
And yet, he scored the game-winner on a chip shot that bounded into a wide-open net. At least it looked wide-open, until you realized it was open because the keeper had to come out from the near post to defend him.
The keeper did the right thing.