It’s not too late for senior to launch Jeeps to finalOctober 10, 2013
By JOSEPH FANELLI
Herald Sports Writer
DUBOIS — At the end of the match, it was the lone senior on the Northeast Dubois boys soccer team who was hoisted above his teammates, a smile planted across his face, his arms waving. On an electric night in Dubois, in front of a crowd filled with students and parents, Will Canary punched the Jeeps’ ticket to the sectional championship match and a chance at history.
And to think, he was the one telling coach Clive Williams it would be the last game.
“He was late today,” Williams said. “And I said to him, ”˜What’s going on?’ He said, ”˜It’s my last game.’ I said, ”˜Will, it’s not your last game.’ And as you can see, tonight it was not.”
In a contest that concluded close to 11 p.m. because of a late start time, Canary punched in not only his first goal of the season, but the first goal of his entire four-year career, for the deciding score for Northeast Dubois in a 1-0 squeaker over Wood Memorial. The Jeeps (8-5-1) advanced to Saturday’s sectional championship at 11 a.m. in Dubois to face Class 1A No. 13 Washington Catholic, which moved past Shoals 3-1 earlier Wednesday. The Jeeps will have a chance to win the program’s first sectional championship.
No one was more giddy than Canary. He could hardly contain himself at the end of the game, high-fiving and hugging every player in sight.
“Oh, God,” he exclaimed, eyes wide. “That was my first goal. Four years! Senior year! The sectional! My whole family came up from Kentucky to watch.
“It’s unreal. I didn’t expect it at all. ... I kept coming back and playing as hard as I could. I thought I was going to puke half the time.”
That effort proved to be the difference for Canary who, with a lot of hustle and a little luck, found himself in position in the right place at the right time. At the 31-minute mark of the first half, with the Jeep offense gaining steam, Eli Betz sent a high ball to the near side of the 18-yard box off a corner kick. A host of Jeeps and Trojans leaped for the ball, but Brayden Wineinger was able to connect and headed it toward the goal. Keeper Jacob Creedon made a diving save on the initial shot to push the ball away, but after a lot of confusion, Canary burst toward the ball and tapped it across the line, just as two defenders converged on the spot.
And all Canary was thinking was, “Please don’t screw this up.”
“The thing is, two practices ago, I had the same opportunity and I hit the corner post and knocked it out,” he said. “I was like, ”˜Just don’t do it again.’”
From there, the game only got more hectic, with both teams content on playing dump-and-run on offense. Speedy Jeep forwards Isaac Tuell and Reid Haas had several chances in the first half that either just screamed over the post or were corralled by Trojan defenders. Jeep forward Gavin Howell sent several balls in on crosses that were either deflected out or intercepted by the goalie. It was a game played at a breakneck pace by two fast and physical teams.
“I think it was the youthfulness,” Williams said. “Because they are so young, they’re still not calm and collected. I think they were a little amped up by the crowd as well.”
In the second half, play became increasingly more frantic. Both teams delivered and received some hard fouls. Multiple tussles started after players found themselves on the ground. In a two-minute period in the second half, play was called dead seven times because of penalties.
“It got real physical,” Canary said. “The last little bit when I was in there turned into a shoving match for a while. I know I pushed a couple guys.”
In the final minutes, Wood Memorial had just one legitimate shot, a 30-footer that goalie Nolan Rasche picked up easily. As the clock wound down to zero, the Jeep players and sideline erupted simultaneously. After scoring just nine minutes in, the Jeeps’ defense, anchored by Logan Anderson and Jacob Hemmerlein, was able to hold the one-goal edge for 71 minutes against a determined Trojan team.
“They played relentless tonight,” Williams said about his defense. “They’re still moving the ball, still passing. All those things we did in the summer, it really showed itself today. What we worked on over and over again, it really showed today. And it was a team that we knew we could beat. We couldn’t give them an inch because they would take it.”
After the initial cheering died down, Williams circled his team and gave a simple message: Northeast Dubois boys soccer has never won a sectional.
“This is our time,” he said. “Dubois needs to win a sectional. Saturday.”
It will be a tough task against a Washington Catholic squad that beat the Jeeps 7-2 in August, but Williams said his boys are up to it.
“They have a chance at history,” Williams said. “Dubois has never won a sectional and they’re young enough, strong enough and good enough to do that. It’s up to them out there and today they believed in themselves. So we’re going to continue that theme hopefully on Saturday.”
Contact Joseph Fanelli at firstname.lastname@example.org
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