The East Aurora boys soccer team mission clearly lies beyond Section VI.
The Blue Devils finished their season against Section VI opponents with an exclamation point, beating Tonawanda, 5-0, in the overall Class B championship to move on to the state quarterfinals. EA will face Section V (Rochester area) champion Livonia at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
East Aurora finished the year a sterling 20-0 against Section VI teams, showing they could live up to the expectations placed upon them in being one of the best teams in Western New York, regardless of class, all year.
“It’s hard being No. 1 all year,” East Aurora coach Kevin Beale said of the Blue Devils’ season-long stay atop the Western New York coaches small school poll. “It’s hard to live up to that, but our kids did a real nice job staying focused knowing everyone was coming after us.”
Tonawanda came after East Aurora early in Tuesday, with possession in the Blue Devils territory through the first 10 minutes, but all it took was a few mistakes for the state’s No. 2 Class B team in the state to capitalize.
In the 12th minute, after Tonawanda keeper Jesse Bortz made a save from distance, his punt went right to EA’s Quin Aiken, who neatly lofted the ball in from 25 yards out.
“Early on, I think some of those goals were from some mental mistakes,” Tonawanda coach JJ Gabor said. “Against a good team like this you can’t afford to make those mistakes or they’re going to put the ball in the back of the net.”
East Aurora never looked back from there, keeping the heat on the Warriors the rest of the game.
Ryan Keller scored in the 26th minute when he headed in a pretty feed from Joe Vucic. Kyle Kleckner scored two minutes later off a throw-in that Tonawanda couldn’t clear.
“We came out slow the last couple games, not scoring until late in the half, so it was good to get out early,” Keller said. “After we scored that first goal we kept pounding.”
With a three goal lead, and a backline that’s only allowed four goals against all year, Tonawanda’s Cinderella season hit midnight.
The Warriors, the sixth seed in B-2, took down third-seeded City Honors, second-seeded Southwestern fourth-seeded Akron to win its first Sectional title in 20 years, but after East Aurora added two more second half goals, their sensational run came to a close.
EA, which won the B-1 title, hopes its accomplishments continue. The Blue Devils lost in the state quarterfinals as a Class A school last year, and they hope that will fuel them against Livonia, ranked No. 1 in the state.
“Ever since we lost that game last November, we thought about coming back this year and winning,” Keller said. “If we step it up a couple of more notches, we can take them down.”