Tigers earn state silver
For the second straight season, Jackson Becher and Lower Dauphin are all that separated Northwestern from a state championship.
The Tigers fell 4-1 to the District 3 champs Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium as Becher scored half of his team’s goals in the game. The Falcons’ earned their second straight state title game win over Northwestern.
“We knew if we made a mistake they were burying it in the back of the net and that’s what happened on those plays,” said Tiger head coach Nate Hunsicker. “Similar to last year, we had a couple chances and we couldn’t make them count and we had a couple mistakes and they made them count.”
Just over seven minutes into the game Becher got his team on the board when Diego Heredia-Soto crossed a pass in from the right corner to Becher. With defenders on him, Becher netted his 102nd career goal for the 1-0 lead.
Ryan Becher, a junior and the brother of Jackson, put Lower Dauphin (26-2-1) ahead 2-0 with an unassisted goal on a direct kick with 10:48 left in the game.
The Tigers (26-1) made some runs over the first 20 minutes of the game, but a stingy Falcon defense kept them from putting any pressure on goal keeper Connor Buggy.
Jackson Becher, a senior who is headed to University of Maryland Baltimore County, scored his 41st goal this season with 3:12 left in the first half for the 3-0 lead.
“They’re both absolute crazy,” Northwestern’s Kenny Gawelko said of the Becher brothers. “To score 100 goals in that league and district is crazy. He seems to always be in the right spot. It’s something I wish I could be like. And his brother is always getting him the ball. He’s just a workhorse in the midfield. They’re definitely a duo to see.”
The three-goal lead seemed like too much to overcome even before Blake Cassel made it 4-0 less than four minutes into the second half. Northwestern had given up just six goals through its first 26 games this season.
“We knew if we gave up three it was going to be a tall task,” said Hunsicker. “We knew they were a strong offensive side. We weren’t shocked. We didn’t play our best, but I don’t want to take anything away from them because they’re a great team and a well-coached team.”
Gawelko, a senior and this year’s Colonial League Most Valuable Player, spoiled Buggy’s shutout when he scored in the final minutes of the game.
The Becher brothers are the sons of Penn FC (formerly Harrisburg Islanders) head coach Bill Becher. The elder Becher played professionally from 1987 until 1999, and was named the Islanders first head coach in 2003. Jackson Becher holds school records for goals in his career, goals for the season and career assists (36).
The Tigers were outshot 10-2 in the game and didn’t record their first shot on goal until the second half. Senior goalkeeper Taylor Wannamaker made six saves for the Tigers. The Falcons also posted a 6-4 edge in corners.
Eight PIAA soccer champs were crowned over the weekend. On Friday, District 7 runner up Quaker Valley beat District 3 champ Lancaster Mennonite for the boys Class 2A title. District 1 champ Conestoga wrapped up an unbeaten season with a win over District 3 champ Hempfield, 4-0, for the boys Class 4A championship. In girls games, District 10 champ Mercyhurst Prep beat District 1 champ St. Basil 1-0 for the Class 2A crown. Nowrin, the District 7 runner up, beat District 1 third-place team Neshaminy for the girls 4A championship. On Saturday, Camp Hill beat Cardinal Wuerl NC 3-2 in overtime for the boys Class 1A crown. In girls action, District 7 runner up Shady Side Academy downed District 3 runner up Camp Hill 4-0 for the girls Class 1A title. District 7 champ Moon Area beat District 1 winner Villa Joseph Maria for the girls 3A title, 1-0.