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Bulldog boys win first sectional tite

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POTSDAM - Since the first day of practice, members of the Heuvelton boys soccer team have been talking about making some history.

On Thursday night, at Potsdam Central School, the 11-3-2 Bulldogs capped an historic season with a victory of utmost significance as they downed Harrisville 1-0 to claim the school’s first Section 10 Class D Championship. It also claimed the first league or sectional soccer championship since a Valley League Playoff title in 1980.

“That one boys soccer banner in the gym is so old that it is falling apart,” said senior Aaron Cobb who was honored after the game as the NAC West Division Offensive MVP.

“We wanted to put a brand new one up there.”

The second-seeded Bulldogs long-awaited banner was secured with a third victory of the season over fifth seeded NAC West rival Harrisville (11-4-0). It completed a “Night for the Bulldogs” following Chateaugay’s 3-0 victory over Parishville-Hopkinton in the Girls Class D Championship Game.

Heuvelton’s victory was decided when senior Jon Sloan converted the second of the Bulldogs’ best two scoring chances of the night, in a matter of seconds, with 27:55 remaining in the game. On the first opportunity, Harrisville keeper Zane Mono (10 saves) made a diving save to deflect a point blank shot by Cobb just wide of the net.

Senior Mike Guardino followed with a corner kick which deflected off a defender to Sloan who buried a shot from the top of the bubble.

“The ball came right off the defender’s chest and I had a great look. I felt that it was now or never and I got off a really good shot,” said Sloan after the Bulldogs remained unbeaten (3-0-1) on games played on all-weather turf this season.

“Soccer is my favorite sport and to win this title as a senior is just amazing. Coach (Dave Steele) did a good job scheduling games on turf fields for us. We feel very comfortable on turf and I think that meant a lot.

The Bulldogs will return to the Potsdam Central Turf field on Saturday meeting undefeated Section 7 Champion Chazy at 2 p.m. for a berth in the New York State Class D Final Four. The Chateaugay Girls host Elizabethtown at noon.

“We had some chances which we didn’t convert and they had two really good chances and got one. Defensively, we made one mistake in the second half and they converted which is a credit to them” said Harrisville Coach Shane Countryman after leading Class D1 Champion Harrisville to its fourth trip to the Overall Class D finals in the last five years.

“This is only my second year after taking over a great program from Rick Bearor. Our players work very hard and they play in the summer.”

Led by co-captains Joe Butts, Nick Weir, Tim Fowler and Justin Hartle, the Pirates also worked extremely hard pressing forward in quest of a tying goal over the last 10 minutes. The Heuvelton backfield of Matt Guardino, Cody Holland, Jeff Arquitt and Lucas Brown were all called up for clutch stops and goaltender Chris Power made the best of his 13 saves to deflect a shot by Jared Dreythaler with a diving effort.

With 5:53 to play, Dedrick Johnson blocked a free kick by Tim Fowler just outside of the penalty area which proved to be the Pirates’ final significant threat.

“Our defense played extremely well tonight. When Jack Tennant was injured, Will Tennant came in and won some really big balls for us,” said Heuvelton Coach Dave Steele. “This a great group of guys who really worked hard. They wanted to make some history this year and they went out and made a lot of history.”

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