Pates win D-11 title
As has been the Freedom way all season, the Patriots played to a double overtime, this time in the District XI Class 4A boys’ soccer final against Emmaus, and defeated the Hornets, 1-0, for district gold on Nov. 1 at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown.
The second overtime had just begun when Bradley Turocy scored the game winner.
“Dan [Ramirez] was down and I was a little confused, like, should we stop for him? But Zack [Fereno] played a ball in so I knew I had to go for it,” Turocy said. “The ball was in a great spot, and I knew as soon as I connected with it, it was definitely going on frame, so the keeper had to make a great save, but luckily enough, it sneaked in.”
Ramirez, who had been controlling the ball well all night, went down from cramping.
“Then I looked up and saw Brad score, but I still couldn’t get up, so I waited by myself on the ground and then [Zach] Shay came over,” Ramirez said. “Back then [when we played Emmaus in the regular season], we were injured and tired after playing four games and a couple overtimes, and we wanted to prove that healthy and after some rest, we could really come at them.”
After a somewhat quiet first half, the game intensified in the second.
“We’re both pretty good defensive sides, and neither team wanted to concede one early, so it was a lot of work in the first half,” said Freedom back Zachary Raffino. “Second half, both teams wanted a goal, so we started opening up a little bit. I was about 30 yards away on the right hand side. It took me a second to realize he had actually scored, and then he started ripping his shirt off and you know. Dog pile.”
Both Turocy and Jared Whitehorn had scoring opportunities earlier in the game, Bast had a big save with 30:00 left in the first half, and Emmaus missed on a free kick early in the first overtime.
“I had full faith in them tonight,” said Freedom coach Matt Reightler. “Last time it was a lot closer but the circumstances were different. I let them do their thing. Once it hit those overtimes, it started to seem to us that Emmaus was tired and we weren’t, and the opportunities were starting to open up for us.”
The Patriots have said all season that it is their fitness and training that keeps them going strong.
“I think the biggest job in this was matching physicality, just winning the ball, 50-50s, and just wanting it more in the end,” said Freedom mid Zack Fereno. “We worked tirelessly to be here and this is what it’s all about. We knew for sure they like to play long balls, we definitely worked on defending corners, defending set pieces, making sure we’re on both their center backs if they’re coming up, number 20 (Jake Groh) as well, and making sure we’re preventing any aerial threat.”
The Pates were in awe of winning leagues and districts, both in the same year, yet knew they were capable.
“It was surreal,” Reightler said. “To be honest, all of a sudden I realized I was on the other side of the field. It was a blur. The moment it left his foot, you could tell it was going into the back of the net. If they keep working this way, keep fighting this way, I think we’ve got four more games in us.”
The Patriots will have played in the first round of states on Tuesday night, past Press deadlines. The second round is scheduled for Saturday.