ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) – Thursday’s Class A soccer championship pits teams with very different histories against each other.
Redbank Valley is coming to Hershey for the first time and is the first District 9 team to play for a title in nearly 30 years. For Bishop Guilfoyle, it is a “business trip” as one player said. The Marauders travel to Hershey for the fifth time in eight years, playing for a title most recently in 2019.
“I remember the last basket. And how horrible it was to lose this match, ”recalls main receiver Vincent Cioffari.
In that loss in 2019, an overtime placement made the difference in a 10-7 loss to Farrell.
“The wind made it difficult to hit a basket,” Cioffari said. “They hit it, I thought it was a pretty lucky field, but, they won, they played better.”
Two years later, this loss still motivates Bishop Guilfoyle. But it is not the only one.
“Losing week two was a pretty nasty feeling,” said senior lineman Colin Butler. “I think a lot of us were down.”
That week, Penn Cambria hit the road and upset BG 27-14. The Marauders started Year 1-2. It was a slow start that cemented an outsider mentality.
“The guys are coming into the season and we said they might not know your names by now, but our goal is for them to know by the end of the season,” said head coach Justin Wheeler. . “So hang in there, fight for the first few games and trust the process.”
Truth be told, it’s hard to be an underdog when you’re BG and you’ve played four title games in the previous seven seasons. But after replacing 19 starters and losing their top player to a pre-season injury, many believed the squad was in the process of rebuilding itself. Even the players felt it.
“We knew, or all thought it wasn’t going to be good. Then we kept winning playoff games, and that’s crazy, ”said Butler.
Growth has been key for the Marauders throughout the year, and when the lights were on the brightest, the team did their best, coming back from a double-digit deficit to beat Juniata Valley in the Championship. district, and defeating undefeated Canton in the semifinals behind a three touchdown performance from Karson Kiesewetter.
BG’s playoff series is full of great wins, but it’s still a race driven by loss.
“Our failures help us build ourselves better,” Cioffari said. “That’s why we’re such a good team, I think.”
“I think that’s exactly where you want to be as a program,” Wheeler added. “We watched some of these games and some of these clips. We put some of these things together for our guys on the media and sent it to them and told them here are some of the things that we visited that we didn’t complete. I think it’s important to learn from your mistakes and know where you’re from.
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