HOLLIDAYSBURG - Bedford and Westmont Hilltop played almost 100 minutes of scoreless soccer in the District 5-6 Class AA boys championship game Thursday night at Tiger Stadium.
Finally, with 12:35 remaining in the second overtime, Bedford's Matt Erlichman drilled a rebound shot off the post and into the net to give the Bisons a dramatic 1-0 victory.
Moments earlier, Sean Leister just missed getting the game-winner when his shot hit the post. Erlichman was in the right spot, though, and put the rebound away.
"I had an opportunity earlier in the game and just missed," Erlichman said. "I said to myself 'I've got to get this one,' and I did.
"I saw it hit the post and I thought it wasn't going in, but then I saw it hit the net and I went nuts," Erlichman said.
"I'm so excited, I can't explain the feeling."
Westmont had a chance to win it with about two minutes left in the first overtime when Adam Pozun's kick appeared to hit the crossbar and bounce back to Bryson Eplett, who then booted the ball into the net.
However, Pozun's kick actually hit the crossbar and then the football upright, which is out of bounds.
"I saw the ball hit the football goalpost," Bedford coach Tom Otis said, "but it was a definite scare, no doubt about it.
"Winning in double overtime is pretty exciting," Otis said. "It was a great game. Both teams played extremely well, extremely hard.
"I'm proud of the guys, they've worked really hard all year, and it really paid off," he said.
Scoring chances for both teams were few and far between as both defenses dominated the action on the cold, rainy night.
"The defenses were really good," Otis said. "Westmont came out with a different formation and they're harder to beat with four [defenders] in the back. We had a difficult time with that, especially with No. 26 [Michael Burnheimer]. He's a very tough kid.
"But, our defense has been key all year," Otis said. "We've had 14 or 15 shutouts this year. Our goalie [James Jeffries] and are backs are very tough."
Westmont coach Steve Meehan was gracious in defeat.
"For this time of the year, it's what you expect from a game like this," Meehan said. "Two good teams, a physical game, and we ended up on the wrong side of it.
"The kids played with heart and so did Bedford," Meehan said. "That's all you expect and that's all you want from them."
Game notes: The teams split two regular-season games. ... Bedford advances to the state tournament to meet the third-place finisher from District 3 next Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. ... Juniata edged Forest Hills, 3-2, in overtime in the D6-AA girls final which was played earlier in the evening.
SCORE BY HALVES
Westmont Hilltop 0 0 0 0 - 0
Bedford 0 0 0 1 - 1
Second Overtime: Erlichman, 12:35.
Records: Westmont Hilltop (14-5-1); Bedford (19-3).