Clinton scored 43 seconds into overtime to end Marcellus’ season in a 2-1 thriller Saturday afternoon in the Section III Class B soccer championship at Chittenango High School.
Devin Cornelius tallied the game-winner for the Warriors, who atoned for dropping last year's sectional final to eventual state champion Skaneateles and, in the process, denied the Mustangs its second title in three years.
Cornelius took advantage of a bouncing ball directly in front of the Mustangs' net, and headed the ball over charging Marcellus goalie Eric Daggett. A trio of Mustang players tried to stop the slow bouncing ball, but failed.
“You saw a classic soccer mistake.” Marcellus coach Mark Sunheimer said. “You can’t let a ball bounce in the (18-yard) box, or you get punished on that.
“What else are you going to do? They’re boys. They make mistakes,” Sunheimer added. “Unfortunately, in that type of situation it really stinks.”
If any team had momentum heading into overtime, it was the no. 7 seed Mustangs (12-8). Marcellus scored the second half’s lone goal --- a Sean Dunn screamer to the upper corner from 20 yards out --- and enjoyed edges in both possession and scoring chances.
“You know in the second half we came out really fired up,” Sunheimer said. “And I told them at halftime that ‘guys you’re way better than what you’re showing everybody out here. So go out there and start knocking the ball around.’ And they did.
“Clinton got back on their heels a little bit,” Sunheimer said. “We started getting possession. We knocked in our goal. Momentum was starting to go our way.”
Warriors coach Gil Palladino admitted the Mustangs powerful start to the second half had he and his unbeaten, top-seeded team concerned.
“I was a little worried,” Palladino said. “They got that goal. They started coming at us and at us. We were panicking a little bit.”