Few who follow boys soccer at Jamesville-DeWitt or Christian Brothers Academy will recall a single evening as memorable as what took place in Wednesday night's Section III Class A semifinals.
On one side, the Red Rams stunned undefeated, state no. 1-ranked Fowler 2-0 at Chittenango High School, while on the other side the Brothers survived penalty kicks to get past Watertown after those two sides played to a 1-1 tie at Liverpool High School Stadium.
It sets up a rare sectional final Saturday at 5 p.m. at LHS Stadium between the two neighboring schools. J-D and CBA share space in the OHSL Freedom division in multiple sports, but usually go their separate ways when the post-season starts.
That won't happen here, in large part due to what J-D pulled off. Fowler not only was the defending sectional champions and carrying a perfect 17-0 record, it had also beaten the Red Rams 2-0 in their lone regular-season meeting on Sept. 24.
But J-D, the no. 4 seed, was a much better team now, having won six in a row going into the Fowler rematch, one that carried high emotion since one of the Rams' players, Luca Pelligra, is the son of Falcons head coach Chris Pelligra. On this night, the son would prevail.
A key to it all was the way J-D's defense played in the game's early stages, never letting Fowler establish its potent attack while also getting its fair share of chances on the other end.
Then Adam Resetarits, J-D's leading goal-scorer, found some space in the 28th minute and, from 25 yards out, drilled a hard left-footed shot that eluded Fowler goalie Abdullah Abdulkareema and found the top left corner of the net, and gave the Rams a 1-0 lead.
From there, J-D's defense doubled its efforts, especially in the second half, when John Maroney and his fellow back-line players surrounded goalie Morgan Sawyer and turned back everything the determined Falcons threw at them.