JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP — Justin Sheaffer, like his team, was at a loss for words, pausing for a moment to watch his Camp Hill boys soccer team take one final run to the bleachers and back before calling a huddle.
It had been a long time since Sheaffer had to make a speech to his team like this one — one after a state loss.
But, as he repeated to his players — who stood around each other, some with tears in their eyes — the sun will come up tomorrow and it’ll be a new day.
For some, especially the seniors, it’s a tough loss to swallow.
“Our senior class has been incredible,” Sheaffer said. “I think they’re 89-11 throughout their high school careers. A special group of kids. It sucks for them, it really sucks for them to not get that last goal this year.
“But, it’s an important life lesson. You can’t change it, life goes on, tomorrow’s a new day and you give credit to them because they finished the chance that they had.”
Faith Christian defeated Camp Hill 2-1 in OT with just under 30 seconds remaining in the PIAA Class 1A quarterfinal at Tulpehocken High School on Saturday evening. Garret Mikula got the game-winner with under 30 seconds remaining in OT with a quick tap that flew over top of Lions’ goalie Noah Jack.
Camp Hill and Faith Christian are no strangers in states.
Last season, the Lions defeated FC 1-0 in the first round. The year before, the Lions also dropped FC 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
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This year it looked to be more of the same.
Amias Colestock made quick work of a breakaway in the 34th minute of the first half to gently push a pass by goalie Chase Peev and put the Lions up 1-0.
From there, Camp Hill looked to be off to another state semifinal.
However, Faith Christian kept the pressure up and eventually tied it up with 22.2 seconds left in the game. A controversial call led to a corner kick for FC. The kick sailed toward a scrum in front of the Camp Hill net before a header from William Bolla stunned everyone.
And they maintained the momentum into the extra frame, eventually potting the game-winning goal in the 94th minutes.
The Lions (20-3) near the net fell to the ground; some slamming their fists into the turf.
District 1’s champ, FC (20-2), got the upset and ended the Lions’ push for three straight state crowns.
“I’ve never seen that decision made — there’s no explanation for it,” Lions head coach Justin Sheaffer said about the call at the end of regulation. “It sucks for these guys, but it is what it is.”
Leading up to the game-winner, Faith Christian found a surge of energy, soaring through the second half with a new bounce in its step. FC held Camp Hill to just two shots in the second half and in turn peppered Lions goalie Jack with 11 shots of their own.