By Danny Emerman (Online Editor-in-Chief).
Powered by goals from the explosive tandem of Andy “Hustle” Reyes-Jones and Marques “Flow” Benton, the Sharon Eagles squished the Stoughton Black Knights to improve to 9-3-4.
The Eagles remain undefeated in division play and, with a Canton loss, secure first place in the Davenport division — a feat no Sharon team has accomplished since 1994.
“It is an incredible feeling to be a part of something great for our school, something that hasn’t been done for over 20 years,” captain Ben Stamm said.
“Our team has worked extremely hard to get to this point and I’m very proud of each and every one of them,” Stamm, who had an assist in the contest, added.
In their last seven games, the Eagles have allowed just one goal. Sophomore goalkeeper Ethan Kantor’s play has been solid, culminating in yet another brilliant clean sheet on Tuesday.
“I stayed on my toes. I put it all out for the team and I’m not really focused on my individual performance,” Kantor said.
Kantor recorded arguably his best performance of the season. He made a number of terrific saves including a heroic shoelace tip to deny a penalty kick.
“I didn’t understand how I could save that, but I realized it was going middle so I stuck out my left leg. It’s funny because in practice, whenever my teammates take PK’s on me, there’s always one that goes down the middle and I always hit it. So I guess practice makes perfect,” Kantor said.
Senior captain Shalin Patel helps anchor the defense as a holding midfielder. He says “Once we start playing the team defense that we know we can play, no team in the hock can get through our back line.”
In the game, Stoughton controlled most of the play in the first half, using the small field to their advantage. They kept a high defensive line and repeatedly drew Sharon’s attackers offsides.
“We came out flat without playing with enough intensity,” Patel said. “It came down to the fact that they wanted it more than us in the first half.
Sharon struck first, though, on a diagonal through ball to Stamm, who lofted a cross over the Black Knights’ keeper. Reyes-Jones was there on the back post to hammer it home.
In the second half, momentum shifted towards Sharon as they began to string more passes together. Benton capitalized on a breakaway opportunity created by a pretty pass from junior Spencer Hall.
The ugly 2-0 victory solidified Sharon’s place at the top of the division.
“I wish it was a little prettier but hey we’re now Davenport champs and that’s no joke,” Patel said.
Since losing 5-0 to Kelley-Rex powerhouse King Phillip, the Eagles have gone 5-0-2 in the following seven games. With two regular season games remaining, the focus shifts to the playoffs.
“We’re chasing records. We got the first Dav’ title in 22 years and now we’re going to win the state championship,” junior midfielder Ty Hippler said.
Photo Credit: Dan Teven