Fairmont Senior wins third straight Sectional Championship

·4 min read

Oct. 23—FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Senior Polar Bears pulled off a hat trick of a different kind Saturday at East-West Stadium.

The Polar Bears' 4-1 defeat of the Frankfort Falcons was the school's third consecutive sectional victory. Though Fairmont Senior fell behind 1-0 after a Frankfort goal in the 10th minute of play, the Polar Bears persisted, and brought home their third straight sectional.

"It's a great feeling knowing that we can do it three years in a row, that we have the strength to do it," Fairmont Senior's Bubby Towns said. "We just keep getting better and better, that's the best feeling."

"Just happy to get the victory honestly," Fairmont Senior head coach Darrin Paul said. "Our goal has been just win and advance and we did that. Frankfort obviously came out and played very hard, made it difficult on us. We dominated, I think, the first 20 minutes, we give up one, but I was glad that the boys showed fight and we continued to move forward."

The ball rarely settled for any stretch of time in the first half, with a breakaway goal by Frankfort being the only scoring until the tail end of the first 40 minutes.

Fairmont got plenty of looks at the net, but couldn't catch a break in the early goings; multiple shots missing by a thin margin, even banging off the posts on an occasion.

After a tripping penalty led to a penalty kick, Towns eventually tied the game for his Polar Bears, putting through a deceptive kick to the right side.

Despite their first-half frustrations, Towns and the Polar Bears think they are on the right track.

"Halftime, we wanted to stay outside the locker room so we could stay on our feet and keep the same energy," Towns said. "Because we were putting it to them the whole first half. Throughout the rest of the season we've been keeping our composure if we go down and we just keep getting stronger even if we go down 1-0."

"It was just a matter of persistence we just kept putting shots on the frame, we kept trying and trying and eventually one would go, and if one goes then more will go and we just keep rolling."

The breakthrough came in the 63rd minute for Fairmont Senior. Ashton Cecil broke the tie with a missile that, though the keeper got a hand on it, had too much velocity to be kept out of the net. Less than a minute later, Denzel Duvert booted a 25-yard shot that stayed low to the ground before finding the back of the goal.

"We just keep trying to do the same things, we don't try to change anything," Paul said. "We knew we were playing well, we just had an unfortunate goal go in but you know, as you guys have seen the last couple weeks we are a team of runs. Once we get one we look for that second, third and fourth and we just try to stay on you. If we continue to do the right things, I think good things happen."

The floodgates were opened for Fairmont Senior, and Towns would shave a shot right inside the right post in the 78th minute for good measure. Defensively, the Polar Bears kept Frankfort from so much as threatening to score for virtually the rest of the game after their first goal. The defense, much as it has been all year, was led by versatile junior Nate Flower.

"I may be biased, but I think he's the best defender in the state. He has done a tremendous job," Paul said. "He was first-team all-state last year at mid, and we needed someone to step back there and control the game for us, and he has done that since he's been back there. He wins the ball out of the air, he facilitates the offense, I can't say enough about Nate. Our team has been totally different since we moved him to the center back position."

Next up for the defending state champs is a Tuesday match against Weir. The match is, as of Sunday, set for 5 p.m.

Reach Nick Henthorn at 304-367-2548 or by email at nhenthorn@timeswv.com.

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