There was a chance, if it all broke right, for the Fowler and Nottingham boys soccer teams to meet each other in the semifinals of the Section III Class A playoffs.
Doing so, though, would require the Falcons and Bulldogs to both win quarterfinal games on the road -- Fowler against no. 2 seed Jamesville-DeWitt, Nottingham against no. 3 seed Chittenango.
Both pulled through the opening rounds, starting last Tuesday with Fowler shutting out no. 10 seed Homer 3-0.
In relatively mild late-October conditions, Heri Muke scored twice, helping the Falcons pull away from a modest 1-0 halftime margin. Lossing Jellue, Fowler's leading scorer this fall, had one goal and one assist. Elijah Kumeh stopped all six shots he faced.
A night later, Nottingham, glad to be on its home artificial surface after a day-long rain, routed no. 11 seed Indian River 5-0.
Steeled by the Class AA competition it had faced in the CNY Counties League this season, the Bulldogs streaked to a 2-0 halftime lead and kept on going with a balanced, versatile attack that produced 20 shots on the night.
Five different players - Farid Alic, Abu Bility, Abdi Harabi, Kanyea Saon and Almedin Bektic -- put in the five goals. Omar Mohamed, Elvedin Hasnovic, Pat VonLueninck and Werdy Mugaya earned assists, too.
Everything would turn around, though, in the Class A quarterfinals, where Fowler and Nottingham met defeat in varying ways, neither of them pleasant.
On Friday, the Falcons took no. 2 seed Jamesville-DeWitt to overtime, only to lose to the Red Rams 2-1.
Fowler got into early trouble when, seven minutes into the game, a poor clearing kick from goalie Elijah Kumeh allowed J-D's Noel Williams to loft the ball over his head and into the net.
But the Falcons settled down and, for the rest of regulation, did not allow a goal despite all kinds of J-D chances. Fowler then got even when, midway through the second half, Jellue's fast break and well-timed pass to the middle set up Heri Muke for the tying score.