The North Adams boys soccer team picked up their first sectional championship since 2007 Wednesday night as the Green Devils took down the Eastern Brown Warriors 2-1 in a road contest to move on to a district semi-final.
The combination of juniors Ben Figgins and Patrick England was Kryptonite to the Warriors as the two hooked up for nearly identical goals off corner kicks, one in each half, to push the green and gold to victory.
“That’s exactly how we get most of our goals,” North Adams head coach Ike Wooten said. “That’s how we draw it up. All summer long we work on corner kicks because we try to go down the sideline and get a great cross off. If not we make sure we get it off them so we can get a set piece. We take a lot of time and pride in developing plays, especially free kicks, and we run our throws just the same way.”
After attacking the near post on set pieces most of the game, the two times North Adams ran a play towards the back post, it caught Eastern off guard, which was their eventual downfall.
“It’s almost kind of a bait-and-switch,” Wooten said. “All game you hammer to the near post on those free kicks and they expect that the whole time and then Ben puts one over the top and we know what’s coming but they don’t and we took advantage twice.”
After Patrick England scored off one of those long corners in the first half and taking the 1-0 lead into the halftime break, Eastern came out after the break appearing to be much more focused, controlling the majority of the possessions. North Adams was back on their heels, turning the tables on the first half when North Adams controlled the majority of the opening 40 minutes.
That run of play paid off for Eastern about halfway through the second half when senior Brady Klein found the bottom left corner of the goal, beating senior goalkeeper Drew Coppack. But a response from the Figgins-England connection came 10 minutes later to seal the game.
“Our guys had enough to say ‘That’s not going to knock the wind out of us,’ and we came back and found a way to score,” Wooten said.
The Green Devils had multiple chances in the final ten minutes when a shot went between senior goalkeeper Mickey Hundley’s legs but Hundley was able to clear it at the last moment before the ball crossed the line. North Adams kept on the front foot, looking for a third goal they weren’t able to find, but the pressure on the Eastern defense occupied enough time to take home the victory.
“This feels great,” Figgins said. “To come out and play as hard as we did in the first half and score that one and then we came out a little flat in the second half but then after they scored we didn’t give up.”
North Adams will take on Alexander High School on Oct. 24 at 8 p.m at Athens High School with the winner of that game likely taking on top-seeded Lynchburg Clay in a district final on Oct. 31 at Athens High School at 5 p.m.
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.