By Larry Moko
It’s one last kick at the can in the sport of soccer for Jacob Patten.
Playing for Bishop Ryan in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic senior boys’ high school soccer playoffs, two-sport star Patten scored a pair of goals to lead the Celtics to a 3-0 quarter-final victory over the visiting Cathedral Gaels Tuesday.
It could be the final season of competitive soccer for Patten because he has accepted a football scholarship at University of British Columbia. He’ll be joining head coach Blake Nill’s Thunderbirds this summer.
“I’ll miss it (soccer) Patten said. “It will always be a part of me.”
With the victory, the second-place Celtics advance to take on the third-place St. Thomas More Knights in one of Thursday’s semifinals. In the other, the first-place Cardinal Newman Cardinals face the fourth-place St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves.
Patten, who has never previously won a HWCAA senior outdoor soccer title, raced down the wing and crossed a pass to teammate Jayrome Martini for the opening goal.
Devon Heathcoat then pounced on a loose ball from a corner kick to put the home team up 2-0.
Patten – a striker -- capped the scoring from close range with some skillfully quick moves just before time expired in the first half.
“He’s a highlight reel in soccer and in football he’s the same way,” Celtics coach Josip Cvitak said of Patten. “We’ll miss him next year. He’s respectful, has a great attitude and is never in trouble.”
Cvitak says Patten is the best player in the league despite not having played club soccer throughout high school.
“He’s a natural-born talent. Everybody knows him. Every game 2-3 guys hold on to him and he still scores.”
It was the job of Cathedral’s Dion Renaud to shadow Patten in the first half. Everywhere Patten went, Renaud would be close by. “That’s what we had to do to try and shut him down,” Renaud said.
According to Patten, the special coverage gives him confidence. “I get used to people marking me hard all the time,” he said, “and I know how to maneuver through it.”
A versatile player in football, Patten expects to probably line up as a slotback or wide receiver at the UBC training camp. And joining him out west will be another rookie from Hamilton --- Cathedral’s running back/defensive back, Jaxon Ciraolo-Brown.
“I’m excited for the challenge,” Patten said. “I’m starting a new chapter now. I have faith in myself that I can succeed.”
Anthony Ventura was in goal against Cathedral, preserving the shutout by blocking a 35-yard free kick by captain Brandon Oracko in the closing minute.
“We have a well balanced team and the chemistry is good,” Cvitak said. “The defence is the best we’ve had in years. We’ve only allowed five goals against this season (eight games).
“The playoffs will be tough, though. There are four strong teams left.”
More won its quarterfinal over the St. Mary Crusaders 4-0, Newman got past the ACMT Jaguars and Brebeuf edged the Bishop Tonnos Titans, 1-0.