DuBOIS — On a rainy Halloween night, Bradford's Cody Bly turned out to be no treat for the Punxsy boys' soccer team. Bly found the net three times to boot the Owls past the Chucks to claim the District IX title, 3-1.
"We were outplayed. Bradford was the better team tonight," explained Chucks head coach Phil Shenkle. "We did a lot of things very well, but Bradford was just better in the game."
The night started off rough for Punxsy, especially for its goalkeeper Tristan Acre. The junior not only hurt his knee in the pregame warmups but was forced to leave the game three minutes in.
In the third minute, the Owls' Bly belted the soccer ball to the goal, which sent Acre diving at the shot.
The dive ended up with Acre's head striking the goal post, while the ball slide past into the goal at the same time for the Bradford goal.
Senior Lance Deet took over in goal for the Chucks.
The Owls' momentum was stopped three minutes later. On an indirect kick by Tanner Evans, Punxsy's Trevor Peace headed the ball past the Bradford (11-7-1) keeper to tie the game, 1-1, which it would stay the remaining 34 minutes of the first half.
45:46 into the game, Bly pushed Bradford back on top. The striker deflected a kick off a player through a crowd and saw the ball sneak into the net for a 2-1 advantage.
The score remained 2-1 in the Owls favor before Bly made it a 'hat trick.' For a second-straight time, Bly hit a shot that deflected off a couple players and into the Punxsy net for a 3-1 score with five minutes left and eventual final.
"Bradford used their wings very well," pointed out Shenkle. "They stretched out the defense, which allows room to find their way to the goal, like they did tonight."
Bradford has now won two of the three District IX boys' soccer title matches between the teams over the past three years. The 'rubber match' was the first of the three to not need extra time to decide the winner. Punxsy was narrowly outshot on the night 16-15.
The Chucks saw their season come to a close with a 13-6 record and district runner-up placing.
"We had a tremendous season and I am very proud of the team," concluded Shenkle. "We put together a great year with a lot of new guys. They gave a fantastic effort. The team came together and gelled and won a lot of close games this year."