Jon Beardsley had a tricky time coming to a choice, and who may blame him?
Fillmore Central Faculty has had athletic success throughout the board, previous and current, and Beardsley gave a number of examples: the boys soccer crew reached the state match 5 occasions (most lately final fall); the 1994-95 boys basketball crew went 21-5 and superior to states; ladies soccer groups in 1984 (regional champions) and 1999. He additionally famous a dominant boys tennis squad for 30 years in addition to the 1975 baseball crew and the women basketball crew from 2018-19 (23-1 report, solely loss within the Part 5 Class D title recreation).
Tasked to choose only one, Beardsley selected the 2000 boys soccer squad – the one crew at school historical past to succeed in a state title recreation. Within the Class D semifinals that season, Fillmore and Blind Brook (Part 1) battled to a 1-1 tie by way of regulation and time beyond regulation. Fillmore then gained Three-2 on penalty kicks to advance to the championship towards Manlius Pebble Hill (Part Three).
“A foot of snow fell in Liverpool the morning of the (semifinal),” longtime coach Jamie Mullen recalled of the early November contest. “They needed to plow the sphere. It was so chilly that weekend … within the single digits once we confirmed up.
“Blind Brook was from a powerful soccer league on Lengthy Island. I bear in mind a surefire aim that they need to have had – it ought to have ended our season – however Shawn Jewell bought down on his knees and saved (it). If there’s such a factor as future that was one of many days the place it appeared destined. After (we gained), all the children jumped in a snowbank collectively.”
IN THE championship recreation, MPH topped Fillmore, 2-1, to complete with a 24-Zero report beneath Coach Don Ridall, among the many winningest coaches in New York state historical past and a member of the NYS Soccer Corridor of Fame. Manlius scored early on and elevated its result in 2-Zero within the second half earlier than a Fillmore penalty kick introduced the Eagles to inside one. However they couldn’t discover the equalizer.
“Manlius was the actual deal,” longtime assistant coach Mike Witkowski mentioned. “We did properly to stick with them. We bought a penalty kick within the second half and transformed on it. We had a pair good runs within the second half, however they have been an extremely expert crew.”
The loss ended Fillmore’s season at 22-2-1, nonetheless among the many finest at school historical past.
“The mentality of everybody concerned was, ‘Hey, why can’t we do that once more?’” Witkowski mentioned, referring to the 1999 crew which additionally made the Closing 4. “The yr earlier than was the pioneering season for us the place we lastly bought that sectional title that eluded us.”
Mullen considered it slightly in a different way, particularly in preseason, which he described as an inauspicious begin.
“We went to a playaround in Cohocton,” he mentioned. “We ended up enjoying 5 groups that day. We scrimmaged towards Byron-Bergen, a B faculty. They destroyed us. They scored 4 objectives in 30 minutes. Every part I put collectively that I believed would work, didn’t. I got here away from that day very demoralized. I believed it was going to be an extended yr.”
He was improper, and 20 years later he will get to inform tales about that magical season.
Fillmore’s non-wins have been common season video games towards Portville (1-1 tie) and Genesee Valley (1-Zero loss), and the championship towards Manlius Pebble Hill. Each different recreation (together with rematches towards Portville and Genesee Valley) resulted in a victory, 14 of which have been shutouts. The Eagles didn’t enable multiple aim to any crew besides the state last. They scored 70 objectives and allowed simply 12 in 25 video games.
“What we had, and what we nonetheless emphasize at the moment, is having a powerful protection,” Witkowski mentioned. “That’s finally what bought us previous a few of these video games. We have been offensively minded however we made positive we had robust gamers within the defensive finish too.”
SENIOR Noah Voss led the crew with 18 objectives, seven of which got here within the playoffs.
“To this present day, he’s one of the intuitive and anticipatory athletes,” Mullen mentioned. “He’s a pure; such consciousness and he’s all the time a step forward. He may not be fast or agile, however I’ve by no means had a child with a heavier foot with each ft. If he may flip the nook on you, it was in. Nobody knew defend him.”
Maybe his finest efficiency was within the state semifinal by which he was referred to as upon for a twin function. Down 2-1 in penalty kicks, Voss took issues into his personal arms … and ft.
“We used Noah as our goalie (in penalty kicks),” Witkowski mentioned. “He had a fantastic learn on the ball and a fantastic soar. We put Noah in internet and he stopped a few them. Then, we saved him for final as a kicker and he bought the successful aim for us.”
Senior Mark Boespflug – top-of-the-line middle/midfielders to ever play at Fillmore, Mullen mentioned – scored 13 objectives, TJ McDonnell had 11 and Aaron Morley scored 10. Dan Fuller manned the online for the Eagles, and his 14 shutouts are a faculty report.
“These guys loved being collectively greater than any group I’ve ever had,” Mullen mentioned. “I can’t recall a time the place there have been any divisions or preventing. They cherished being collectively. They have been humorous, they have been clever. Each day was enjoyable. They purchased into every little thing we have been doing. Once you get a crew like that it’s awfully enjoyable. Good youngsters all the way in which all the way down to the core. To this present day they’re all buddies … discuss guys who made a distinction on this world.”
“I REMEMBER (plenty of them) as JV gamers, and what I bear in mind most is that they all the time discovered a solution to win video games,” Witkowski mentioned. “We had the appropriate personnel and the appropriate chemistry of fellows. They by no means gave up, all the time performed to the ultimate whistle. They have been all crew gamers, all of them performed for one another. That’s the largest factor about that crew.”
After dispatching Alfred-Almond of their first playoff recreation, 2-Zero, the Eagles downed Genesee Valley (2-1 in time beyond regulation) and Jasper-Troupsburg (1-Zero in time beyond regulation). Witkowski remembered Voss’ aim towards J-T with simply seconds remaining that pushed Fillmore to the D qualifier.
“He had his again to the aim, prime of the field, collects a cross, turns and simply cracks one,” Witkowski mentioned. “I ran on the sphere and picked him up. That was one of the joyous moments of my teaching profession.”
A pair of three-goal victories – Four-1 over Northstar Christian within the Part 5 D Qualifier and Three-Zero over Maple Grove within the Far West Regionals – propelled Fillmore to a visit to Liverpool and the NYS Closing 4.
THE FILLMORE boys soccer crew additionally reached the state Closing 4 in 1999, 2005, ‘07 and ‘19, however misplaced within the semifinal every time. It was solely the 2000 crew beneath Mullen – who nonetheless coaches the crew and is the reigning Large 30 Boys Soccer Coach of the 12 months – which reached the championship recreation.
“I had the fortune of enjoying for some unimaginable coaches and met a few of my closest buddies whereas enjoying soccer at Houghton School,” mentioned Mullen, who, now coming into his 30th yr, owns a profession report of 433-94-41 and this yr was chosen to the Allegany County Athletics Corridor of Fame. “In some methods it appeared like a pure match to maintain going. I wish to give the children the identical expertise I did. I coach on the faculty I went to, it’s in my blood. That is my alternative to offer again in the way in which that it was given to me.”
Stated Witkowski: “Jamie and I’ve been collectively 30 years now, it’s been fairly a run. I’ve mentioned this 1,000,000 occasions, 99.9 p.c of what I find out about soccer I realized from him.”