Assistant Sports Editor
BENNINGTON -- A month after Burr and Burton Academy walked out of Spinelli Field 3-2 winners in the John James Tournament finals, the Mount Anthony Union High School Patriots found their revenge in a thrilling 3-2 win in overtime on Wednesday night.
"This is a great feeling because it is senior night," senior Luke Keenan said. "And beating BBA, our biggest rivals, it just feels great."
From the opening kick to Brad Anair's decisive goal in overtime, round three of this year's rivalry was another one for the books.
"This is always a special game," BBA coach Peter Mull said. "Our guys played our hearts out and came back from two down. I think we were putting some good things together but had an unlucky play in the box in overtime."
In the first half, the Patriots came out like a team determined to right the wrongs of the previous two games. Besides the James loss, MAU also fell 2-1 to BBA in the second game of the season.
Marcus LaFlamme nearly started the scoring when he found himself in on goal with only Maitland to beat. But Maitland rushed off of his line and was able to smother the shot.
But just a few moments later, and LaFlamme would find his way around Maitland.
After a poor clearance gave Jack Peterson the ball at midfield, Peterson played the ball to LaFlamme, who was again in one-on-one. Using a chip shot, LaFlamme managed to put the ball around Maitland and into the net.
Anair would score the second goal, although from a very unconventional situation.
Taking a corner, Anair swung the ball in towards the back post. But instead of hitting a defender or finding a teammate, the ball found the side netting.
"[BBA] didn't have anyone at the back post, so I tried to play it there. Sometimes, things just work for you," Anair said.
In the second half, the Bulldogs would find a pair of goals quickly.
The first game two minutes in. Wes Lord played a ball onto the feet of Jacob Bazyk on the right. Bazyk kept going towards goal, and was able to beat Patrick Cody to the far post to make it 2-1.
Three minutes later, and Nolan Johnson would record a goal that left his coach in awe.
Liam Kelleher set up the play, chipping a pass back towards Johnson who was making a late run on goal. On the volley, Johnson swung and connected with the ball, sending it into the net before anyone could react.
"[Nolan] isn't a starter but he started tonight, and he played the game of his life. That was a phenomenal goal, one of the best I've seen," Mull said.
Things would remain tied until the overtime period.
The Bulldogs would have the first chance for the golden goal through Johnny Weeks. But Weeks' shot was saved well by Cody.
With time starting to wind down in the first overtime, the Patriots pushed forward to try and build an attack.
Blue, finding himself to the left of goal and near the touchline, tried shielding the ball away from the defense to give himself time. But a Bulldog defender, trying to get to the ball, pushed Blue to the ground. The referee blew his whistle and pointed right to the spot.
And with the game on the line, the Patriots turned to Mr. Reliable.
Anair stepped up, and after a slight hesitation, he hit his shot low and to the right, past the outstretched arms of Maitland.
"I was 100 percent confident Brad was going to make that," Molloy said. "He works too hard to miss in those situations."
Mount Anthony finishes the season with a 10-4-0 record, the team's first 10-win season since 2002-2003. Burr and Burton falls to 6-6-1 with one game remaining.