Two “Williams” proved their blood to be colder than the frigid temperature at Hamburg High School.
Section VI Williamsville East and Section V Williamson blanked their Far West Regionals opponents Friday night, as Williamsville East downed Brighton, 2-0, and Williamson tackled Maple Grove, 3-0.
Nineteen minutes into the Class A final, senior Jack Looney gave Will East (20-0-0) a 1-0 lead as he emerged from traffic and finished a glorious cross from senior Chris Barbolini.
Just 2:27 later, senior captain Brandon Schick – who displayed tremendous speed throughout the contest and drew much attention from the Barons’ ‘D’ – chased down a long pass, maneuvered around Brighton’s goalkeeper and fired a rocket into the back of the net to make the score 2-0.
Schick had several more chances, as did Brighton’s attack (including a penalty kick), but the score stayed 2-0 until the final horn.
“We’re very resilient,” said East head coach Jeff Librock. “[This entire season], we’ve given up four goals. We’re on a roll. These guys have been playing together a long time, really going back to U-10 in the summer. They honestly have great respect for each other.”
One halftime decision made all the difference in the Class C matchup. Section VI champ Maple Grove bent but did not break in the first half and the score was knotted through 45 minutes, but Williamson head coach Jim Newby decided to push another man up on the attack in the second frame. The strategy yielded three goals. Tom Ferland scored twice for the Section V champions.
“I was trying to push the guys to be more offense-minded, especially down on the attack,” Newby said. “I thought we were a little timid [in the first half]. We created a lot of opportunities, and then when it was time to hit the final punch, we were timid. I just told them to be composed and finish the ball.”
Ferland is the Wayne County League MVP, and Newby believes the junior forward is “going to be a hot item when it comes to college soccer.” However, Ferland said the Marauders (19-0-2) are so good because of their unselfishness.
“Our teamwork, our stats -–no one is in it for themselves,” Ferland said. “We’re all just working together, and it’s coming together this year. We’re ready to go.”
Williamson scored the game’s first goal shortly after Maple Grove failed to capitalize on an empty-net opportunity. With 25:10 remaining, Ferland dribbled a low shot past Maple Grove keeper Kyle Richardson. Ferland scored again exactly four minutes later. Junior Josh McIntosh, who assisted on one of Ferland’s goals, scored one of his own with 16 minutes remaining to ice the game.
The Red Dragons’ season ended one game after they took down I-Prep/Grover in double overtime in the Section VI final at Pioneer High School.
Ferland will lead Williamson into the state semifinals next Saturday at Middletown High School in downstate Middletown. The Williamsville East Flames will play on another field at the same school at 8:30 a.m.