DEFENDER OF THE REIGN: Carroll County defender Christian Ford (15) and goalkeeper Blake Reynolds converge on the ball to make a stop in the Panthers’ 4-1 win over Owen County on Wednesday at Henry County High School. (Staff photo by James Pence)
DEFENDER OF THE REIGN: Carroll County defender Christian Ford (15) and goalkeeper Blake Reynolds converge on the ball to make a stop in the Panthers’ 4-1 win over Owen County on Wednesday at Henry County High School. (Staff photo by James Pence)
NEW CASTLE, Ky. — Carroll County boys soccer beat Owen County twice in the regular season en route to the No. 1 seed in this week’s District 31 tournament. The Panthers then lived up to that ranking on Wednesday night by topping the Rebels 4-1 in the semifinals.

It was tight match early in the first half, but the defending champion Panthers scored two quick goals in less than two minutes to clinch a spot in the district finals for a sixth straight season where they will seek their sixth straight championship. Carroll is now 11-0 all-time in District 31 tournament play.

Carroll (7-7-1) moves on to face Henry County while Owen County closes out the season at 1-18. Henry County (5-7-3) survived its semifinal matchup against Gallatin County 1-0 in a penalty shootout by out-shooting Gallatin 3-2 after being tied 0-0 at the end of regulation and the extra time.

In a game postponed a day by wet weather on Tuesday, Carroll looked ready to coast to victory after getting a quick goal from Bryce Butcher in the second minute for a 1-0 lead.

Owen, however, turned up its intensity on the Panthers and the Rebels got the equalizer in the 15th minute when Luis Perez’s booted a shot toward the upper right corner of the goal and the ball hit the crossbar and bounced straight down. Carroll goalkeeper Blake Reynolds picked the ball up thinking it was still in the field of play but the referee ruled the ball had cross over the goal line and the game was tied 1-1.

In the 27th minute, Carroll took the lead for good when Angel Medina made a thrust up the middle and delivered a perfect kick that Rebels goalkeeper Kameron Wilson had no chance of saving for the go-ahead goal and a 2-1 lead. In the 28th minute, Trystan Amick delivered a kick from just inside the goal box that found net and bumped the lead to 3-1.

The score remained 3-1 through halftime and the teams played virtually even to start the second half.

Carroll finally broke through again in the 63rd minute when Amick tallied his second goal of the game to make it 4-1. Carroll had opportunities to add to the lead but stayed scoreless over the final 17 minutes for the final 4-1 margin.

The win sets the stage for Carroll and host Henry County to meet in the championship. The Panthers and Wildcats met twice in the regular season with Carroll winning both by narrow margins. Carroll won 3-2 on Sept. 14 in New Castle and 1-0 on Sept. 26 in Carrollton.

Game time is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. today.