ALTOONA -- Koby Griest and Jake Martin both have the size. That's the easy part. At 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-0, respectively, the two Biglerville soccer players serve as natural targets any time the Canners have a corner kick or long throw-in.

But both Griest and Martin know it takes more than height to win the 50-50 headers that can make the difference in a game.

It takes a mentality. Something their coach, Jebb Nelson, called "an edge."

"You have to want it," Griest added.

He and his teammates most certainly did, during a 4-1 victory against District 7 runner-up Greensburg Central Catholic in a PIAA Class A boys' quaterfinal Saturday afternoon at Mansion Park Stadium. Griest headed home the game's first goal off a corner kick minutes before halftime, and Martin nodded in a pair of teammate Nate Fox's trademark long throw-ins late in the second half.

Such plays have been typical this year for Biglerville, a team that excels at punishing opponents from set pieces. This time, they ensured the Canners a place in Tuesday's state semifinals. Biglerville (17-7-1) will play Sewickley Academy (20-1-1), the third-place side from District 7, Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.

"The one thing we're really working on with throw-ins and corner kicks is getting up and into the net, because hopefully the ball will go with us," said Martin, whose goals came two minutes apart and gave the Canners an ironclad 3-0 lead.

"You got to kind of focus on the ball and disregard everything else."

Already, Biglerville's playoff run has been a record-setting one for a program that did not win a state playoff game before this season. Nelson recalled a moment last week when two strangers called out to him at a Giant supermarket in Mechanicsburg. They saw his Biglerville soccer jacket and wanted to wish him luck.

Last Thursday, Penn State football players Evan Lewis and Brian Irvin (both Gettysburg graduates) arranged a Skype call with the team to offer them a pep talk.

"It's been a fun ride," Nelson said, "and these guys have worked really hard for it."

Which brings us back to Saturday's match and the way the Canners seemed to scrap for every ball -- whether it be airborne or along the ground.

For much of the half, the two teams seemed to cancel each other out in the midfield. Then, with 2:37 before halftime, Griest charged in from the edge of the 18-yard box and connected with Cole Herzing's curling corner kick. Centurions goalkeeper David Kossol had no chance at the header.

"That opened the gates," said Griest, a junior midfielder.

Biglerville parlayed that momentum over to the second half. It nearly went ahead nine minutes after halftime, when one of Fox's laser-like throws pinged around in front of net but somehow stayed out. The senior captain's heaves have been a wellspring of scoring chances this season for the Canners.

"That's been huge for us pretty much all year," Nelson said.

Fitting, then, that the Canners next two goals -- both headers by Martin, a junior defender -- originated from Fox's hand.

The first, with 15 minutes left in regulation, narrowed the window of opportunity for Greensburg Central Catholic (16-6-1).

The second, just minutes later, slammed it shut.

The two teams traded goals in the closing minutes, with Cesar Morales adding the exclamation point for Biglerville. Canners goalkeeper Gerry Lua chipped in six saves.

Now Biglerville finds itself two wins from a state title few outside its program would have predicted. After the final whistle, the Canners players broke their postgame huddle by yelling "History" in unison. Then they walked toward the nearby fence to meet with the 50 or so fans who had tailed them to Altoona.

"It's school history every step of the way," Fox said.
 
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BIGLERVILLE 4, GREENSBURG C.C. 1
Biglerville  1   3    -- 4
Greensburg C.C.  0   1 -- 1

   First half: 1. Big, Koby Griest (Cole Herzing), 2:37.
   Second half: 2. Big, Jake Martin (Nate Fox), 14:55; 3. Big, Martin (Fox), 12:25; 4. GCC, Frank Fratto, 4:34; 5. Big, Cesar Morales (Armando Rojo), 2:22.
   Shots on goal: Big 10, GCC 7
   Corners: Big 8, GCC 5
   Saves: Biglerville, Gerry Lua (6 saves); GCC, David Kossol (6 saves).