MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The McCallie soccer attack had Father Ryan on its heels from start to finish on Wednesday, and Irish coach Robin Dieterich wasn't comfortable until the very final buzzer.
The problem for the Blue Tornado was that when that final horn did sound, they were on the wrong end of the scoreboard.
Father Ryan's Jackson Warrick scored the go-ahead goal in the 74th minute, and the fifth-ranked Irish held on to defeat top-ranked McCallie 2-1 Wednesday in the Division II-AA state semifinals at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex. The defending state champions will battle fourth-ranked Baylor, who defeated second-ranked Christian Brothers 2-0 in another semifinal, in today's championship at 8.
McCallie ends their season 17-3, with their second consecutive East/Middle region championship title.
"My heart goes out to my 11 seniors," McCallie coach Tony Meyers said. "This outcome doesn't change the season we had. Tonight wasn't what we wanted as a result, but it was a wonderful ride and I wouldn't want it any other way."
The Blue Tornado took a 1-0 advantage going into the half, when Arturo Rocha crossed a ball that snuck over the outstretched hands of Father Ryan keeper Andy Franklin and was headed in by Hunter Brock. They held that lead until the 47th minute, when John Arnold rifled a free kick past McCallie's Josh Bandy. Irish junior midfielder Josh Edmondson had been fouled right outside the box on the previous play.
Warrick then scored with six minutes remaining, striking a shot from inside 18 yards that hit the bottom of the crossbar and angled into the goal.
"These guys have shown some resolve come tournament time," Dieterich said. "We questioned them early in the season, but they have shown in the postseason what they're made of. We've gone back to doing what we do well."
McCallie continued to push in the final minutes, and created a number of opportunities. Franklin finished with six saves, none bigger than a kick save of an Angel Cruz shot in the final moments.
"We had some quality opportunities, but that's just the game of soccer," Meyers said. "We play in a hard region, and every one of those games is hard. That's why two of our teams are playing for a state championship tomorrow.
"The team did well all year, and dealt with highs and lows. There is no tomorrow for those seniors, but it diminishes nothing from what we did this year."