Tonawanda News — The Tonawanda boys soccer team allowed just one goal last season in its run to the B1 Title showdown, but it came in the championship match against Medina in a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat.
This year, a different Warriors squad emerged — one whose success on Saturday afternoon will undoubtedly temper all future recollection of that disappointing day a year ago, and earned the team its first Sectional Championship since 1992.
The Warriors' work ethic and determination paid off when they outlasted a physical Akron squad to win, 1-0, in an intense and emotion-filled contest at All High Stadium. The game winner came in the 62nd minute off the foot of senior Jake Choate.
It is a battle-tested, veteran group of players that took the field Saturday for Tonawanda — one that coach James Gabor said never stops believing and playing hard.
And battle they certainly did.
The game itself was a back-and-forth affair that evoked high emotions in the stands. Parents and students were invested in the game from the very beginning, and it showed. An incident following the Choate goal caused obvious friction among some members of the crowd, and some screaming ensued.
As Choate was celebrating his score, running down the near-field sideline, a ball boy seemed to trip the senior and Choate hit the deck and remained there for a few minutes. Gabor initially didn't know what was happening.
"I saw him go down and from my perspective I thought our guys were celebrating and he somehow got hurt — and I'm thinking, 'Come on guys. Don't get hurt celebrating,'" Gabor said. "Next thing I know the officials are talking to one another and Jake wasn't getting up. They threw the ball boy out of the game and apparently he stepped in front of Jake. I don't want to speculate because I didn't see it, but it was something along those lines."