By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
ST. LOUIS -- Matt Longo's voice raised just a little.
It's because he was beaming with pride.
For the first time in 11 appearances in the Gateway City Soccer Classic, the Quincy High School boys soccer team won its bracket.
Senior forward Blake Herman's penalty kick gave the Blue Devils the lead in the 45th minute and the defense made it last as QHS beat St. Louis DeSmet 2-1 at DeSmet to finish the weekend 3-0.
"The kids were pretty excited," said Longo, the veteran coach who saw the Blue Devils run their current winning streak to 11 games. "These were two good teams going at it. I'm proud of the guys for sticking with it and earning this."
This was the fifth time the Blue Devils (14-2-1) reached a bracket championship game, and they took the upper hand in the 28th minute.
Moving up the left side, Herman carried toward the goal and ripped a shot between the keeper and the near post for a 1-0 lead.
"He hit a bomb," Longo said. "I don't know if any keeper could have gotten it."
DeSmet tied the game with two minutes remaining in the first half as the play came up the left side and QHS keeper Jason Ebbing got his hands on a cross. However, DeSmet had players crashing from the back side and knocked the ball in near the far post, tying the game at 1 at halftime.
Five minutes into the second half, Herman was tackled from behind in the penalty area and made the subsequent penalty kick for his 24th goal this season.
QHS outshot DeSmet 14-11, while Ebbing made seven saves.
"Ebbing played absolutely spectacular all weekend," Longo said.