BEDFORD - The stage was set during the regular season when the Chestnut Ridge and Fannett-Metal boys' high school soccer teams played twice in Sideling Hill League action and both games ended in a tie.
The two squads battled through District 5 Class A playoff action to earn the right to play each other once again for the championship on Thursday night at Bedford High School - only this time it was win, lose and no draw as a one winner had to be crowned.
Unfortunately, for the Lions, after playing through almost 75 minutes of action, Fannett-Metal was finally able break the tie and score twice in a 52 second span late to take home the crown with a 2-0 victory.
"We tied these guys twice during the regular season, so this game was to see who could win," Chestnut Ridge coach Grant Bischof said. "Our guys came out and played hard. Unfortunately, they [Fannett-Metal] found the back of the net first."
The district title was not only the first in school history for the Fannett-Metal boys' soccer team, the win also gave the Tigers their first boys team title in any sport in the school's history.
"The game, I think, was equally played. Both teams had opportunities up-and-down the field - a lot of movement with the ball," Fannett-Metal coach Greg Best said. "Once we got that first goal with over 5 minutes to go, we always talk about no letdown, let's get another one and we did."
The contest had everything any spectator could have asked for - great defensive and offensive play, intensity, hustle and a few remarkable saves by the goalkeepers from both sides.
As the clock ticked down and both the Lions and Tigers beginning to play with a sense of urgency, it was a Ridge turnover that set Fannett up with the first goal.
The Chestnut Ridge defense cleared the ball out of their defensive zone, but when the right halfback misplayed it, the Tigers' Daulton Siebert took advantage and crossed the ball into the center of the field at the 18-yard line. Eric Foy made a nice trap on the ball to get control then ripped off a shot to the right side of the goal that made its way past Ridge goalie Brady Corle at the 5:52 mark of the second half.
"We talk about putting pressure on their defenders, make them make a mistake. That just finally happened. We broke through - got a little luck I think," Best said. "He [Foy] is a goal scorer. We just try to move him around [the field] to find a weak hole. There was none tonight, but he did finally get one in."
The score fired up the Tigers and they immediately made good on another Chestnut Ridge turnover near midfield as Brad Boggs made a high-pass downfield where Jordan Hurrel was waiting.
Hurrel got control, dribbled to the left side of the box, made a move to fake out and go around Corle, then caught up with the ball and put it in the back of the net before it rolled out of bounds with 5:00 to go in the game.
"Turnovers have been a big downside to us. Their counter-attack was huge," Bischof said. "The other night [against Conemaugh Township] we were able to hold it off, tonight it didn't work."
Hurrel's goal was the capper as the Lions' hopes were dashed, and when Ridge's Michael Young got his second yellow card of the game [which is a red card and immediate ejection for the rest of the game] with 2:37 to play, Chestnut Ridge was forced to play down a man to end the game.
"We told the boys going into the second half, we've got to step it up, because it may have been scoreless on the scoreboard, but we were down at the end of the first half," Bischof said. "We had opportunities, especially in that second half, we just didn't finish. Because of that, it is what it is."
The two teams played to 3-3 and 2-2 ties earlier in the year. Chestnut Ridge ended its season at 12-3-4, while Fannett-Metal, which will play Tuesday night at Northern Bedford High School against the runner-up from District 9, improved to 17-2-2.
Both goalkeepers, Corle and Fannett's Trevor Reisigner, stopped 16 shots apiece.
"This is definitely quite an accomplishment for our kids, for our school and just our community," Best said. "We have a big following. We've had a huge following all year. It's just great."
SCORE BY HALVES
Chestnut Ridge0 0 - 0
Fannett-Metal 0 2 - 2
Second half: FM-Eric Foy (Daulton Seibert assist), 5:52; FM-Jordan
Hurrel (Brad Boggs assist), 5:00.
Shots taken: Chestnut Ridge 21; Fannett-Metal 23.
Goalkeeper saves: Brady Corle, CR, 16; Trevor Reisigner, FM, 16.
Yellow cards: First half - Young, CR, 3:28; Second half - Young, CR,
Red card: Second half - Young, CR, 2:37.
Records: Chestnut Ridge (12-3-4); Fannett-Metal (17-2-2).