By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
FILLMORE — It all came down to Friday night. The Allegany County Championship was on the line, and up for grabs between both Fillmore and Bolivar-Richburg. The two foes have already fought tooth and nail in their first matchup nearly two weeks ago at Dunsmore-Latimer Field, where the Eagles were able to survive a late push from the Wolverines to remain unbeaten while handing them their first loss.
Game two in Fillmore was no different.
The prize that awaited at the end required one key to unlock — a win for Fillmore, it would be all theirs for the taking. A win for Bolivar-Richburg, both teams will share. As opposed to five goals being scored in the last game, just one would crawl its way into the net this time around in a much more heavily-defended battle.
The Wolverines had the Eagles on the ropes in the first half. But after some time well spent during halftime, Fillmore would then push back.
Right from the hop in the first five minutes of the second half, it was none other than the Eagles phenom himself Mitch Ward who made all the right things happen on the field, as he connected with his 29th goal of the season to give Fillmore the lead that was pressured by Bolivar-Richburg, but never slipped away, as they went on to score the Allegany County League title all for themselves after a massive 1-0 shutout of the Wolverines to record the season sweep, and remain undefeated.
“We secured an incredibly tough and gritty win tonight to allow us to lock up the County Championship,” Eagles coach Jarrett Vosburg said. “Bolivar-Richburg played just as well, if not better, than they did when we were down to their place. They are on the rise as a program, and we knew these two games were going to be as competitive as advertised. Both teams played with a tremendous amount of heart. We were just the fortunate ones to come out on top tonight.”
Ward’s goal for the Eagles (13-0) came just four minutes removed off the second half clock, after both teams waged war across the field through a scoreless first half of play. The connection began with Brent Zubikowski in the middle, sending the ball up the field for his fellow Fillmore senior to take care of, past the Bolivar-Richburg defense to ultimately give them the lead for the remainder of the game.
Vosburg says that it was the type of game his team needed with Sectionals coming just two weeks away.
“Our defensive corps of Nolan (Krzeminski), Jude (Beardsley), Jack (Cool) and Brent were all superb at limiting Bolivar-Richburg’s chances. Zube was even able to get involved with the offense on his assist to Mitch for the goal. It was another excellent team effort, and the type of game we desperately needed to play as we make the turn for Sectionals.”
The goal was one of 14 shots that Fillmore applied to the net, as they outshot Bolivar-Richburg (11-2-1) by a 14-3 total count. Luke Colombo would go on to make all three of those saves, while David Abdo set aside 13 for the Wolverines.
The Eagles are back on the field on Columbus Day night with a 6 p.m. contest back on their home field against the C.G. Finney Falcons — their first matchup since last year’s Section V, Class D State Qualifier. As for the Wolverines, they head back home and look to rebound with a 5 p.m. first kick against Cuba-Rushford on Tuesday.
Genesee Valley/Belfast 2, Cuba-Rushford 1
CUBA — Genesee Valley/Belfast was the first to strike in the opening half on Friday at Cuba-Rushford. Holding the 1-0 lead at the break, two more goals would work their way into the net in the last 40 minutes of play — one by each team, as the first half start wound up being one of the difference makers in their 2-1 edging of the Rebels over the road.
The first two goals on the board would belong to Genesee Valley/Belfast (6-5-3), with Evan Turybury grabbing the first in the opening half of play to give them a 1-0 lead going into the break, after a midfield battle right alongside Cuba-Rushford consumed the remaining time left on the clock.
Out of the gates in the second half, that advantage was branched to a pair by Chris Weaver, as he connected with a loose ball in front of the Rebels (3-9) cage, and sent it in top shelf. The upper-hand was held as time went on until the hosts in blue and white were able to provide a response by cutting the deficit in half behind Jacob Smith’s goal, capitalizing off a pass sent along by Braeden Wight. But the Genesee Valley/Belfast defense was able to keep the pressure at a minimum, as they held onto victory in the end.
The visitors would go on to outshoot Cuba-Rushford by a 19-9 count, with Thai Norasethaporn garnering the win behind his eight saves. On the other end, Jack Frank, Adam Shaffer and Preston Bilotta all saw time in goal for the Rebels, combining for 18 saves.
Both teams will have the Wellsville Lions up next on their slates, with Cuba-Rushford taking first crack with a trip into the Lion’s Den on Columbus Day evening, beginning in a 7 p.m. first kick. Genesee Valley/Belfast will have their turn the next night in Wellsville, in a 7 p.m. battle of their own on Tuesday.
Houghton Academy 6, Andover/Whitesville 0
ANDOVER — Wasting no time getting on the board was Houghton Academy, who scored a pair of goals in a two minute span in the early stages of the first half to break the ice. They would go on to score three goals in each half of play in Andover to roll their way towards victory by a 6-0 count to record the shutout against host Andover/Whitesville, Friday night.
Brian Patipewe and Lucas Matias tag-teamed to deliver a quick 1-2 punch for the Panthers (9-5), with Patipewe connecting on his goal off a pass from Shams Zia near the 10 minute mark. Two minutes later, Matias would add on more damage with his first of three goals of the night, scoring at the 29:50 mark on a pass from Josh Davidson.
Matias would send Houghton Academy into the break with a 3-0 lead with his second of the game, as Patipewe delivered a perfect pass on his way into the Andover/Whitesville (1-13) zone with 28 seconds remaining.
Three more goals would find their way into the back of the net for the Panthers, all being scoring in the last 20 minutes with Zia capitalizing off a Jon Habecker pass, followed by a second goal from Patipewe and a hat trick-clinching goal from Matias in the final seconds of the game to finish off the victory. Jack Prentice would record an assist on the final goal.
In all, Houghton Academy outshot Andover/Whitesville by a 25-7 count, with Marco Zanini making all seven stops for the visitors to record the shutout. On the other end, Landon Ordway made 19 saves for the hosts.
Avoca/Prattsburgh 2, Andover/Whitesville 0
COHOCTON — Expeditious. That can be one word to describe Avoca/Prattsburgh’s start not only in the first half, but in the next, as the Lady Titans would connect in the opening minute with a pair of goals that would allow them to take control against Andover/Whitesville, holding their lead until the end at the Cohocton Sports Complex to earn the 2-0 shutout.
Kamryn Edwards would have a hand in both Avoca/Prattsburgh goals to give them the jump they wanted against Andover/Whiteville (1-10-3) in each half, beginning right from the start on a pass onwards to Ariana Sierra for the game-opening goal and a 1-0 lead for the Lady Titans to hold.
Across the rest of the opening half, both teams would battle all throughout the midfield before time eventually wound down to its end. In the second half, a near mirror image start for the Lady Titans, only it was Olivia Kilmer that struck even quicker on her goal, scoring 42 seconds in to garner an early piece of insurance to push their lead out even farther.
Avoca/Prattsburgh was able to hang on until the end to capture the victory, despite Andover/Whitesville getting their fair share of chances on goal off 12 total shots. In goal, Emily Hammond would make all 12 stops to earn the shutout for the Lady Titans, while Olivia Waters made 10 saves for the visitors.
Alexander 41, Cuba-Rushford 7
CUBA — Everything was clicking on all fronts for the Alexander Trojans on Friday in their road trip to Cuba-Rushford, as they collected a red hot first half start powered by a strong attack through the air before ending the half on the ground, scoring a big lead that they would never look back from their eventual 41-7 victory over the Rebels.
Right from the start, Alexander took their attack to the air with their first three scores, as Trenton Woods connected with Kaden Lyons and Ben Merrill each on a pair of 25-yard touchdowns in the first quarter to break open the scoring with a 14-0 lead on Cuba-Rushford (1-4). The offense then kicked it up a notch the second quarter with a massive 20-point outing led by Woods’ final touchdown through the air — a 17-yard strike to Damien Hale to branch the lead to 20.
The Trojans now looked to their run game to deliver the goods from that point on, as they accounted for three more scores, two of them coming to help end the first half with runs of 49 and four yards from both Tyler Marino, and Richard Townley respectively. Woods would then attack with his legs as well to finish off the scoring in the third quarter, rushing into the end zone from 11 yards out for his fourth score of the game.
In the last 12 minutes of the night, the Rebels would work their way onto the board to eliminate the shutout, as Dom Bello grabbed a short yardage score from 10 yards out. Bello was also Cuba-Rushford’s leading tackler on defense, recording eight in all.