Faith Christian entered the District One Class A final with an 18-1 regular season record, the number one seed, a 5-1 first round win over Devon Prep and a regular season win over its opponent New Hope- Solebury.
The two teams went toe-to-toe in a very physical matchup that needed more than 100 minutes of play to settle. In the end it would be New Hope which raised its fourth consecutive District One title with a 2-1 win in double overtime.
"The fight and heart in these boys is incredible,' New Hope coach Ollie Hilliker said. "Every year when we get to the playoffs they dig deeper.'
The game came down to a difference in styles. Faith looking to spring its big forwards with long passes down field, while New Hope went with a patient ball-possession offense. Both teams experienced success tilting the field heavily to its opponent's side.
"We try to play the game properly, we want to get [the ball] down, we want to move the ball quickly and find feet,' Hilliker said. "If you look at our team and look at their team, just looking at them we can't play the style of game they're trying to play, if we tried to do that we would get killed.'
The scoring was opened in the 29th minute with Faith's Dylan Papiernik finding the net from roughly 25 yards away. The 1-0 score would hold until halftime. New Hope didn't waste much time out of the break as it tied the game in the 42nd minute, just two minutes into the second half, when an own goal off a free kick found its way in.
"We were a little concerned before we got [the first goal],' Hilliker said. "[Second] minute of the second half, that's such an important time to score. If that had gone another 15 minutes, who knows what would have happened.
The battle of the game took place in the midfield. With bodies colliding and everyone going all out it was very difficult to find space in the midfield. Faith's Murrilo Da Silva was one of the few players who was able to find some daylight and made a few very solid runs along with some great touches.
"I thought [Da Silva] controlled the midfield,' Faith coach Ryan Clymer said. "I thought he was arguably the best player on the field tonight. He's a phenomenal player, he along with some other guys really controlled the flow.'
Faith nearly won the game on a great run by Da Silva who got off a tough shot and the rebound was put in by Cole Adams, however, Adams was called offside negating the goal. The game-winner came from New Hope's Riley Smith off a throw in from Connor Smith in the 106th minute.
"I thought we had it with that [goal] that was called offside,' Clymer said.
For New Hope it earns its fourth trip to the state tournament and for Faith comes another premature ending to its season and a district title still remains evasive.
"I would have loved to win this one, it keeps eluding us and sooner or later [we'll get it],' Clymer said.