It didn’t take long for the Blue Devils to squash the thought of an SK comeback, though.
Short soon ended up with the ball on the sideline and threw what may as well have been a corner kick to Van Valkenburg in the middle of the 18-yard box. Van Valkenburg jumped up for a wicked flick that went off of Post’s hands but landed inside the near post for a 3-1 Margaretville lead 4:55 into the second half.
“He’s one of our guys who can jump up and get the ball,” said Short, whose team tied SK for the DL crown last season. “He either flicks it or heads in the ball. Whatever works.”
The play worked again with 26:54 left as Van Valkenburg turned another deep throw-in from Short into a header to the far post for the final margin.
“Usually on the bigger fields, I play more in and you try to get the flick on,” Van Valkenburg said. “But today, the wind helped us out. They guarded me, but they lost me when I was in the air. The ball moved in the wind, too, so it’s kind of hard to defend.”
That all but secured a victory that Margaretville celebrated with a smattering of handshakes and back pats, indicating the Blue Devils are playing for much more than a league title this season.
“Gotta be,” VanValkenburgh said when asked if Margaretville’s the clear favorite for the upcoming Section Four Class D Tournament. “They wear you down on the defensive end. They’re fast and it seems like there’s always three guys running through. They’re solid.”
Margaretville has a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed and will host No. 9 Morris (8-4-2) of the Tri-Valley League or No. 8 Southern Cayuga (4-8-2) of the Interscholastic Athletic Conference in a sectional quarterfinal this Saturday.