Peters staves off Great Valley in PIAA final

HERSHEY — Emotions were mixed once the final horn sounded for Great Valley.

The Patriots knew their magical run to Hershey ended, knowing that dream of winning a state championship seemed impossible once they entered the District 1 playoffs four weeks ago.

They had plenty to be proud of. Of course, many players knew they were just a goal short of being champions.

Heartbreak started to set in.

Regardless of how Great Valley felt, the Patriots left everything out on the field. They just couldn’t find the equalizer to extend their season for 40 more minutes.

Mario Mastrangelo scored the game-winning goal in the 62nd minute and Peters Township held off a furious Great Valley charge in the final minutes as the Indians defeated the Patriots 2-1 in the PIAA Class AAA championship game at Hersheypark Stadium Saturday night.

The Indians (22-2) clinched their fourth state championship with the win and second in Class AAA. Great Valley (19-6-2) finished second in the state for the second time, the first in the Class AAA bracket.

“It’s tough, but these guys have a lot to be proud of,’ said Great Valley head coach Dave Moffett. “They give it their best shot throughout (the game). Despite the result, we played well.’

Great Valley controlled possession for the final 55 minutes of the game, but found itself facing a two goal deficit early in the second half thanks to the speed of Nicco and Mario Mastrangelo.

The brothers provided both goals for the Indians on a chilly, windy night, which was all they needed to preserve the championship.

Mario Mastrangelo found Nicco Mastrangelo wide open in front of the next after he sent a cross about 25 yards from the end line. Mastrangelo put the ball past Great Valley keeper Aiden Claffey and danced in celebration as Peters Township took a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute.

Five minutes later, Mario Mastrangelo scored his 25th goal of the season off a strong pass from brother Nicco to give the Indians a 2-0 lead in the 62nd.

As Great Valley has proven throughout their postseason run, the Patriots were not going to go down without a fight. Their response began just a minute later.

On a counterattack, Kyle Hoops sent a perfect cross to Mike Carrigan, who finished with a header past Peters keeper Joshua Deyarmin to cut the Patriots deficit to 2-1 in the 63rd minute.

The goal was Carrigan’s ninth of the season.

“Once it got to 2-0, we just tried to press, push and create things,’ Moffett said. “With them playing back, we just wanted to create every opportunity we could to make something happen.’

For the final 25 minutes, the Patriots played with house money and almost converted the jackpot in the 70th minute.

Hoops had a shot at the equalizer, but Deyarmin beat him to a loose ball in front of the box to keep the Peters Township lead at a goal.

That was the best chance the Patriots had at tying it up despite having several opportunities in the final minutes.

Once the final buzzer sounded and Peters Township celebrated at midfield, Great Valley’s Cinderella run came to a halt in Hershey, a place few thought they would be once they were awarded the No. 15 seed in the District 1 tournament four weeks ago.

Instead, the Patriots took Malvern on an improbable run that will be remembered throughout the community for years to come.

“They have nothing to hang their heads over,’ Moffett said. “Our seniors had a great run here and set a high standard for the underclassmen. I’m extremely proud of them and how much they accomplished this year.’

NOTES: Claffey stopped a Mario Mastrangelo blast on a breakaway in the eighth minute and stopped the rebound to keep the game scoreless. He finished with six saves, five of which came in the first half.


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