ONEONTA — Morris earned its second straight Section Four Class D girls soccer championship Saturday at the Wright National Soccer Campus.
The swollen, red eyes of the Mustangs told another story, though, one that included Franklin as a co-champion and the team that will represent Section Four in the state tournament this season.
Jessie Downin’s shoulder-high goal to the left side capped a 3-2 shootout victory for the Purple Devils, who played defending sectional champion Morris to a 1-1 tie after 80 minutes of regulation and four scoreless overtime periods that added another 30 minutes to Saturday’s final.
The game officially counts as a tie, but Franklin moved on via the shootout, which is used only to determine which team will advance to the next round.
“That’s a tough way for anybody to lose,” said Morris coach Rhoda Flint, whose fourth-seeded team edged No. 3 seed Franklin for the Tri-Valley League’s West Division title this season. “I don’t see why any team should have to lose that way.”
Sophomore forward Downin sent the decisive kick past Morris goalie Katie Humphris, who cheated the other way before changing direction. Humphris managed to get her hands on the ball but failed to knock it away, giving first-time sectional champion Franklin (15-2-1) a berth in a state quarterfinal against Section Three winner Poland at 3 p.m. Saturday at Fulton High.
“This is the first time a girls team from Franklin has ever won a sectional title,” said 33rd-year coach J.J. Laing, a Franklin graduate who still serves the district as a teacher’s assistant. “And the last time any team from Franklin won a sectional title, you would have to go back to 1969 or ‘70 and the last of the run of great boys basketball teams we had.”
Downin’s shot marked the second straight clutch pk for Franklin, which forged a 2-2 tie in the shootout when Marisa Cawley beat Humphris on the Purple Devils’ final attempt in the five-kick opening round.