Historic Wellsboro season ends in PIAA playoffs

BOILING SPRINGS – Wellsboro had its best season in program history come to an end on Tuesday night when the Hornets lost 7-1 to Biglerville in the first round of the PIAA Class A boys soccer playoffs.

It was the first time that Wellsboro (17-6), a 2-0 loser to Bloomsburg in the District 4 Class A title game last Saturday, lost consecutive games this season.

Even so, Wellsboro coach John Shaffer and his Hornets could walk off the field with their heads held high. That’s because the Hornets advanced to the district finals and state playoffs for the first time in program history.

“I’m very happy with how the boys played the whole game,” Shaffer said. “They continued to battle. We stayed very close to (Biglerville) in the first half. They were just faster, bigger and stronger.”

Wellsboro played Biglerville – the District 3 champs – to a relative draw during the first half. The Canners took a 1-0 lead in the first half on an own goal when Wellsboro defender Joe Allen attempted to clear a shot by Biglerville senior Caleb Taylor. Allen misplayed the ball, inadvertently heading it into his own goal.

In the second half, Biglerville (19-4) took control, erupting for six goals – all of them occurring within a span of about 20 minutes.

One of the few bright spots for the Hornets came late in the second half when Sean Dooley received a ball from Josiah Hill and beat Biglerville goalkeeper Yovan Garcia with a shot from the left side with about 10 minutes to play to pull Wellsboro to within 5-1. Garcia, who had entered the game as a reserve in the second half, got his hands on the airborne ball, but he couldn’t secure it as slipped inside the top corner of the far post.

“We had never won a district game before this year, so to go from never winning a district game to not only making it to a district title game but making it to states, it’s a huge accomplishment,” Shaffer said. “These seniors will be remembered forever.

“I just wish Biglerville the best of luck,” the fourth-year coach added. “If we can say we lost to a state champion or a state finalist then that’s something for us to talk about.”

Goals: W-Sean Dooley; B-Own goal, Matt Cellucci, Paulino Rico, Koby Griest, Adrian Lupian, Caleb Taylor 2. Assists: W-Josiah Hill; B-Griest 2, Dylan Sharrah 2. Shots: W-3, B-15. Corners: W-0, B-8. Saves: W-Jake Mitchell 8, B-Gerry Lua, Yovan Garcia 2.