CANNERS

Biglerville senior captain Emanuel Esquivias works the ball during the YAIAA Tournament championship game against Northeastern, played Saturday night at Dallastown. The Canners dropped a 3-0 decision to the Bobcats, ending their run of 20 straight victories to start the season. Biglerville returns to action in the District 3 2A playoffs on Saturday, Oct. 30.

For the first 20 games of the season it was the Biglerville boys’ soccer team that was running through opponents.

That streak of play included an impressive performance last Thursday in the YAIAA Tournament semifinals against a Dallastown side that was ranked No. 4 in the state in Class 4A.

In the league final Saturday evening at Dallastown High School, the Y-3 champion Canners got to taste a bit of their own medicine, administered by a Northeastern squad that shared the Division 1 title with the Wildcats in the regular season.

From the opening whistle the Bobcats played with a level of physicality that Biglerville hadn’t seen all that much this year. Just a few minutes after the start, the Northeastern boys got on the board with a nice tally off the foot of Caleb Snyder.

By the time the final horn sounded Saturday, Snyder’s hat trick ended the Canners’ 20-game winning-streak as the Bobcats claimed the title with a 3-0 triumph.

“The referees let us play,” Biglerville coach Jebb Nelson said. “It was a physical game right out of the gate and they (Northeastern) tested the boundaries of the refs and I think our guys were taken off by that. They were just running right through us every step of the way. They led with shoulders and (the refs) left them play, but they left it play both ways. We just didn’t step up.”

Snyder’s first score came just over five minutes into play and set the tone for the rest of the night.

“I was wide open on the back post,” said Snyder. “And I just made my run and the ball was served up to me like on a platter and I just ripped it in. Just nice and easy.”

Biglerville (20-1-0) had a handful of chances to pull even throughout the rest of the half, but couldn’t find the net.

“We had to have a couple find the back of the net, but we couldn’t,” Nelson said. “And I think if we could have found the back of the net - and we had that first one that was sent over and it was a good chance - if that went in then we maybe threw them off their game.”

Snyder’s second tally was a bit of a backbreaker late in the opening half. Still down by a goal with under 10 minutes left, Biglerville gave Snyder enough room for the Bobcat senior to double the lead as he ripped a blast from the left side of the box.

“They’re a good team,” Nelson said. “They step up and know where each other are and fill in the slots and are high energy.”

Snyder’s final goal came early in the second half when his shot was deflected by a Canner defender into the net.

Despite the rough showing Saturday, Nelson was happy for his team, which is ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 2A, to get a chance to take on the so-called ‘big boys’.

“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s always a higher level of competition when we get a chance to play these bigger schools. They have more depth than we’re used to during the season. There wasn’t much fall-off from that team and that’s why they’re a good team.”

The Canners will get a week off to recover before embarking on what Nelson and his team hope is a run to the District 3 2A crown. Seeded No. 2 in the draw, Biglerville will host the winner of the Oley Valley/Littlestown first-round match Saturday at 6 p.m.

While losing is never a good thing, Nelson found a silver-lining in Saturday’s outcome.

“We have another game next week and districts starts things all over again,” he said. “And I told them that this (league) tournament, there is only going to be one team that doesn’t lose. And we got that monkey off our back. Yeah, it’s great to be undefeated, but at the same time it’s kind of like a monkey on your back.”

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