ONEONTA -- Hello there from the National Soccer Hall of Fame Complex, where East Aurora and Clarence will both be playing for state championships today.
East Aurora is playing Bronxville in the Class B final at 11 a.m. and Clarence is taking on Brentwood of Section XI (Suffolk County, L.I.) in the AA championship at 1 p.m.
Brentwood is ranked first in the country by ESPNRise.com while Clarence is 35th. The teams are also quite high in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America rankings. In the national poll, Brentwood is 13th and Clarence is 17th. In the Region II (New York state) rankings, St. Anthony's of Long Island is first, Brentwood second and Clarence third. In the state sportswriters poll, Brentwood is ranked first in Class AA with Clarence second.
10:33 a.m. After watching five Far West Regional football games in the span of 24 hours at UB, I arrived in Oneonta about 12 hours after finishing my football stories last night.
It's quite cold and windy with some flurries floating around as we sit and type in our car. There doesn't appear to be power outlets available near the fields, so we'll have to use our battery sparingly -- I'll provide updates after the halves at the very least. We'll see.
11:41 a.m. It's halftime of the Class B final and Bronxville has a 1-0 lead. Senior Brian Rogers got in front of a clearing attempt by EA's Ben Kolich, then chased down the ball on the right side of the goal and banked it in off of goalkeeper Dan Coulter. Coulter was brought off his line on an initial long through ball on a Bronxville counter-attack.
It's been a back-and-forth half in which EA has had most of the play and most of the chances. Bronxville has proven very dangerous in counter-attacks.
It is COLD. And there's no power available. I had hope when I saw that they were running the scoreboard and PA operations at the scorer's table -- actually a picnic table. Then I followed the wires -- those mechanisms are being powered by a car battery.
12:34 p.m. East Aurora loses, 2-0. More coming later.
2:13 p.m. Clarence is trailing, 2-1, with 20 minutes left in the AA championship. Tyler Hamill scored in the first half for the Red Devils. Did I mention it is cold? I can't feel my fingers.
2:38 p.m. It's a final: Brentwood wins, 2-0. Brrrrrrrr.
6:42 p.m. Hello from my buddy's house in Rochester after the drive from Oneonta. Sorry about the lack of details, but there was no time to type, not that I could with my freezing fingers. My feet were literally numb on the walk to the car after the AA final. I had to fire up the car, turn on the heat and hit the road.
At halftime of the AA game, I wasn't able to update things because I was interviewing some EA players (thanks to coach Kevin Beale tracking me down after the B game's closing ceremony, which lasted well into the first half of the Clarence game).
Brentwood was quicker and more skilled than Clarence, which local fans know is saying a lot. It looked to me like a team that deserved its national rankings. The Red Devils certainly represented themselves well, however.
So did the Blue Devils. The second goal against EA was a byproduct of the Blue Devils pushing up late in the game. Bronxville was an extremely solid and composed squad with a stellar player up top in Rogers, who also scored the second goal.
More details to come in the story in Monday's paper -- which I'm sitting down to write right now.