The “S” at the 50-yard line here obviously stands for the Somers Tuskers.
But Thursday it and the entire midfield appeared to belong to top seed Solomon Schechter, which edged No. 2 Haldane 2-1 to claim its first Section 1 Class C boys soccer title.
Except for the game’s last several minutes, when the Blue Devils kept the ball in Schechter’s end, the Lions dominated, constantly beating Haldane to loose balls.
“We thrive off high energy and winning 50-50 balls,” explained Schechter coach Bryan Lamana, whose squad — now 11-3-2 — is slated to play a regional contest vs. the Section 9 winner Saturday in Middletown.
Thursday, Rafi Dodo’s first-half goal proved to be the difference.
The junior forward scored at 12:21, pulling in a lead pass from senior middie Mike Franklin, then hesitating before deeking a defender and pounding the ball past sophomore goalie Garret Quigley.
“Mike made the perfect pass. All I had to do was make a cut and shoot,” Dodo said.
That was the only time the Lions beat Quigley, who had 11 saves.
Schechter’s first goal, off a corner kick at 36:21 of the first half, actually came off a Haldane player’s head.
Haldane, hampered by the absence of its leading scorer, Aidan Draper, who suffered a concussion in its semi-final, penalty-kick win over defending champ Alexander Hamilton, answered at 33:17.
Macdera Heanue passed to James Rubino on the right side, then headed toward the left post, where he took Rubino’s return feed and scored.
But Haldane was stymied for much of the game by sophomore middies Chuck Hochfelder and Ari Leffell.
“They were more physical and aggressive on the ball than us,” Haldane coach Ahmed Dwidar said of Schechter.
Still, Haldane had chances.
In the first half, defenseman Nick Wein block Heanue’s shot from just a few yards out.
And in the game’s last frantic minutes, senior James Rubino’s shot sailed wide right and Jake Heitmann’s shot just skirted wide of the left post.
Lions’ keeper Ben Burton also came up huge, just beating a charging Joe Marigliano and Heanue to a loose ball.
Quigley, whose solid play included a first-half save off a multiple-touch scramble, said he was proud of his team but its win over Hamilton hurt it to some degree.
“We were told the last game we were going to lose. I think we were just a little over confident,” he explained.