OFA Notes Quick Soccer Surge Downing Bears
Updated: Oct 6, 2019
BY DAVE SHEA
The onset of October means cool crisp mornings and afternoon warmth.
It also signals the time when NAC Soccer coaches look for their teams to peak like the fall colors heading for the Section 10 Tournament.
OFA Coach Matt Morley feels that his Blue Devils (3-2-2 NAC, 4-5-2) are doing just that after his team shaded Canton (3-3-2 Centra, 5-5-2) 3-2 at home on Saturday to follow up a victory at Salmon River earlier in the week. Canton downed Salmon River in last year's Section 10 Class B Championship.
"We are banged up some and have some injuries but the guys are really playing a lot better in recent games. Our passing has really improved and today we had some nice point blank chances," said Morley.
"We are definitely moving in the right direction. We got a big win at Salmon River and then had two really good practices. Today we took things from practice to the game. That was really nice"
The Devils came from behind after the Bears scored on a direct kick by Colin Taylor from just outside of the top of the penalty area in the 17th minute. OFA's Cooper Garvey scored from point blank range off a cross from Connor Griffith 9:49 before the half where Canton keeper Andrew Franklin made two outstanding saves the Canton defense weathered several high energy buildups involving Garvey, Griffin, Karson LaRose, Kam Johnson and Hoolden Woods.
After Canton keeper Chris Jones Jr. snared a redirection in the second minute of the second half, the Devils took the lead on their second major threat when Griffith one-touched a cross from Johnson into the net. Canton secured an equalizer with 23:50 to play in the game when Andy Downs, who played only in the second half because of an injury, drilled a penalty kick off crossbar and into the net.
The Devils netted the game-winner with 26:55 to play in regulation when Griffith ran on to a perfectly threaded diagonal lead pass from LaRose on the right flank and buried a shot past goalie Chris Downs Jr. into the left side of the net.
LaRose and Griffith both dropped back into the midfield for the defense of the lead where sweeper Greg Mallott and outside fullback Logan Horton were very forceful.
"We used a different formation which worked well today. Now we just have to keep it going in games with Potsdam and Massena," said Morley.
Dave Vernsey stopped nine shots for OFA and Chris Downs Jr. and Andrew Franklin combined for eight saves for Canton.
In the preliminary junior varsity game Canton shaded OFA 2-1 in double overtime denying one the Devils' best games of the season according to Coach Justin Fishel.
In nonleague action Saturday Beekmantown downed Central Division leader Malone 4-2.