The Canton Boys Varsity Soccer team headed into Thursday nights matchup with the Ogdensburg Blue Devils looking to continue their winning ways in the Central Division of Section X. The Devils on the other hand, came to spoil the Bears record, afternoon and season and gave the senior laden Canton team everything they could handle.
The Bears came out with a furious start maintaining control of the game throughout the opening stanza by applying relentless pressure on the visiting Devils. The Bears scored their first goal when Nick “Nesty” Estabrooks tapped a “Nasty” pass to Colin Taylor for the go ahead point giving the Bears a 1-0 lead. The Bears continued to pressure the Devils for the remainder of the half but were never again able to capitalize on the favorable wind or sunshine in the eyes of the visiting goalie David Vernsey. The half ended favoring the home team 1-0.
Following a stern emotion-filled conversation with his team by OFA Coach and Canton Hall of Famer Matt Morley, the Devils came out with a renewed vigor and vision to take back the momentum. Logan Horton did just that with a goal in the early portion of the second frame followed by a second from teammate Karson LaRose several minutes later. The Bears suddenly found themselves in lost in the woods with their first deficit in a second half on the season. The 2-1 Devils advantage was a gut check for the noticeably dejected Bears squad. The strategy of the Devils was to mark Colin Taylor wherever he was on the field and it was paying off. The Bears where completely out of rhythm and did not look like the team which handed Massena a large loss during their last home game. As the mandatory “mask break” occurred, Coach Matt Caufield challenged his veteran team to find out what they were made of. As the Bears left the break it was clear that they had a few more punches in them as they began a relentless pursuit of the victory.
The Canton defensive team consisting of Caleb Bentley-Hicks, Peter Coakley, Sam Pfotenhauer and Matt Haycook along with Trey Bessette made the decision that the ball would remain in the visitors end of the field as 50/50 balls began to become 80/20 balls favoring the Bears. There was a noticeable increase in their intensity. Matt Haycook’s fierceness was notably apparent as he pestered the visitors feet consistently with a warriors personality. On one particular play he leaped into the air and drove a headed ball into the ground where his feet found it and was then kicked ahead to advance the Bears position on the field. The Bears were back!
The efforts of the Bears began to pay off as Colin Taylor made a money pass to Chris Schuckers with about 12 minutes remaining in the game. Schuckers secured the investment from Taylor and easily landed the ball in the visitors goal. A video of the goal can be seen below. Be sure to watch for sophomore Owen Halls celebration chest bump of Schuckers………priceless!
With the game now notched at 2 goals apiece and the game winding down all eyes became affixed to the scoreboard as there was “parking room only” around the Roger Dusharm Field. Everyone was wondering if the contest would go to extra time. The Bears hopes of ending the game before overtime were elevated when the Devils committed a penalty and the Bears found themselves with Colin Taylor placing the ball for a penalty kick inside the box. A great shot by Taylor was countered by an even better save by the visiting goalie David Vernesy and the frantic action continued to ensue.
With time winding down the Bears scrambled for a last ditched effort to end the game in regulation and they found themselves with a direct kick from midfield. Coach Caufield screamed to the Bears in a voice which could be heard downtown at the Post Office, “Everybody up!….Everybody Up!….Everybody Up”!! While the boys ran into position he then exclaimed, “Sam!!!!….referring to Sam Photenhauer…..you take it!…..you take the kick!” Photenhauer who typically plays in the right side fullback position moved into position at midfield field on the side opposite the scorer’s table. Peter Coakley, who has a great foot himself from that distance was placed in the vicinity of the goal by Caufield because of his aggressive personality to play the ball. As the ball floated away from Sam and in a direction of the goal, it was one of the moments when time sort of stood still as everyone eagerly awaited what was to occur next. What happened next will forever be remembered by the Canton faithful as a little bit of Coach Roger Dusharm magic found the Vernsey deflected ball on the foot of Chris Schuckers once again as the senior drove the go ahead goal home!
Elation hit the Bears sideline as they stormed the field as the clock showed just under 7 seconds remaining. Following a last ditched mid-field kick by the Devils the Bears raced to Canton Goalie Parker Hunt as the Bears celebrated a hard fought and well earned win over a very well coached and talented OFA team.
Game winning goal Video:
Schuckers was recognized by Chris Engel and Star Country 100.1 as the Pepsi Player of the Game for his contributions. Like any true leader and teammate he quickly opened the case and began sharing them with his teammates.
The Bears cannot celebrate too long as they will need to regroup to prepare for a talented Malone team on their home field. The game at Franklin Academy was rescheduled from earlier this week due to snow on the field. Game time in Malone is set for 3:00 pm. Go Bears!