NORTHVILLE - After being defeated in the Section II Class D title game by Fort Ann on a wind-swept pitch at Colonie High School, the Northville Falcons are looking to even the score.
The top-seeded Cardinals and the second-seeded Falcons are primed for a rematch at 4 p.m. today with the Class D title again on the line at Colonie High School.
"Last year we tipped our hats to Fort Ann in the finals," Northville coach Steve Clapper said. "Since that day we've worked our hardest to get back to this point. Our goal is to do our best [today] and in that we know will be successful. I'm sure this is something [last year's game] in the back of our minds, however we've had a goal all season long that we continue to bring into our game on Saturday. Our goal has been to do our very best every day in practice and in every day in games. If know that at the end of the day if we've done our best, then we will be successful."
Northville’s Tyler Henderson (11) controls the ball as Mayfield’s Jack Albertin defends during a Western Athletic Conference contest at Ernie R. Clapper Field in Mayfield on Sept. 26. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)
Northville and Fort Ann have been among the most successful Class D programs in Section II.
Fort Ann is shooting for its fourth-straight Section II title in six years.
The other two years, 2008 and 2009, the Falcons wore the championship crown.
"I think both Fort Ann and Northville have had dedicated athletes throughout the years. These athletes have worked hard both during the season and during the off season to help bring about this success," Clapper said "It's not good enough to want to be in the sectional title game, it takes hard work and effort from every athlete. There are always a lot pieces that need to fit together to meet with that success. We can't, of course, forget luck as you sometimes need the ball to bounce your way. It is, however, not enough to depend on luck alone, has success will require hard work and dedication as well as a little luck."
Neither team will hold an edge in players with championship game experience as Northville returns seven starters from last year's team and Fort Ann has eight starters from a team that reached the NYSPHSAA Class D championship match.
Both teams are capable of scoring and showed that in their semifinal matches. Northville got four goals from freshman Reidell and three more from David Onzo in an 8-0 rout of sixth-seeded Germantown.
The Cardinals overpowered another top-ranked squad in Argyle 6-1 to earn its berth in today's title game.
The weather again is questionable for today, but Clapper said his team has to concentrate on what they can control.
"There are always many factors in any game that can be taken into account," he said. "We've talked many times this year as a team that even though there will always be factors out of our control that we need to be aware of, the things we need to focus on are the things that are in our control. Things that we have control of, such as our attitudes and effort, are the things we needs to focus on because there is where we can make a difference in our lives."