Sam Wasson battles with Lockport’s Jerry West for possession
of the ball in Clarence’s 2-1 win in penalty kicks for the Class AA title. (Photo by Joe Valenti)
You have to hand it to Brendan Law. The Clarence High School boys soccer standout sure knows when to break out of a slump.
Law scored the game-tying goal in the game’s 77th minute and the Red Devils went on to win the Class AA Section VI championship in penalty kicks.
It goes down as a 2-1 win for Clarence over Lockport in a battle-of-unbeatens that was even better than expected on Saturday (Nov. 3) night at Hamburg High School’s Howe Field.
“He needed to get that,” Red Devils coach Mike Silverstein said. “He was struggling a little bit. I’m glad for him, I’m proud of him. We wanted to throw balls in the mix in there and we got one in there finally.”
Lockport’s Alex Reid scored in the 35th minute of the first half and it seemed like that was going to propel the Lions to the sectional crown. But the Red Devils kept putting on the pressure and it finally paid off with 2:50 on the clock when Law hammered home his 14th – and biggest – goal of the season.
“We passed it to the corner,” Law said. “Taylor Helms crossed it in and I was wide open on the other side. I just tapped it in; easy goal.”
Officially, the two teams will go down as Section VI co-champions because the game required penalty kicks. But the Red Devils move on to the Regional Round on Saturday back at Hamburg High School.
Victor Powell, Sam Wasson and Joe Rosenberry scored in the penalty kick round for Clarence. Goalkeeper Michael Biedny saved the first Lockport shot and the other two went wide.
A year ago, Clarence was on the other side. The Red Devils claimed a co-championship with ECIC-I rival Lancaster but it was the Redskins that prevailed in penalty kicks.
“It feel good, it feels good,” Silverstein said after the Red Devils won a fifth straight sectional title and eighth in his coaching tenure. “You want to win it outright, but the PKs, hey we’ll take a win any way we can.”
The Red Devils controlled most of the overtimes, but Lockport junior goalkeeper Bailey Ried was up to the challenge. Cramps proved a major hindrance for the Lions, who had several key players, including Alex Ried, sidelined in the overtime sessions.
“My kids played their hearts out,” Lockport coach Jeff Hulshoff said. “We started cramping up, I had best goal-scorer out for the whole overtimes. They have nothing to hang their heads over. They still went undefeated. What are you going to do?”