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He swears he wasn't shooting the ball.

We're not calling him out or anything, but from the moment Ethan Barclay of McConnellsburg put his foot to the ball taking a free kick Saturday in a District 5 Class 1A playoff game against North Star, it sure looked like a shot.

The fact that he was about 60 yards away from the Cougars goal and kicking into the wind didn't matter.

The ball held its line, caught the goalkeeper napping and ricocheted off his hands and into the net for a highly improbable goal.

"Really, it was supposed to be a service ball for Landon (Seiders)," Barclay said.

That goal was actually the second-strangest thing that happened at McConnellsburg on Saturday. Fans were cautioned when they arrived that an injured skunk was at the bottom of a set of steps leading down to the field, and to stay away from it.

Near the end of the first half, the ball rolled near the skunk and the ball runners were told to just let the ball sit where it was. During halftime, an animal control officer was called in to "take care" of the wounded animal.

Note that in the headline for the Spartans' 8-1 victory it did not say: "McConnellsburg skunks North Star."

SCORING DROUGHT: Among the area's seven girls soccer teams, only two players scored at least 10 goals this fall - Gabby Lecuona of Chambersburg pocketed 16 and Rebecca Wenschof of McConnellsburg had 13.

Two others - Mickey Heinbaugh of James Buchanan and McConnellsburg's Jensen Boehme - each had nine.

Meanwhile, among the area's 12 boys teams, 13 players reached double figures, and another six scored nine goals.

Of the four top-scoring females, all four are underclassmen - one junior, two sophomores and a freshman. Of the 19 top boys scorers, 11 are seniors.

LIVING WALL: On its way to a 24-0 record and a berth in the District 3 Class 3A final on Thursday against Gettysburg, Lower Dauphin's boys have played four games against area teams - three vs. Greencastle-Antrim and one against Chambersburg.

All three results were 4-0 playing the Blue Devils - one in the LD Tournament, one in a Mid Penn tournament semifinal and one in a District 3 quarterfinal. The Trojans fell 1-0 in a non-league encounter.

The one thing in common? The Falcons did not allow a goal. In fact, they have allowed only five goals all year. That's partly because of a very strong defense, obviously, but also because its midfielders and attackers are able to keep possession for the majority of the game.

LD will be a tough out for anybody in their path to a state title.

LOOKING AHEAD: The annual Four Diamonds All-Star Game, pitting area senior boys and girls all-star teams in a doubleheader against teams from Washington County, Md., is set for Wednesday, Nov. 9 at Kaley Field in Greencastle.

It's always a night of good, competitive soccer and it's for a good cause - the Four Diamonds Fund helps families of cancer patients of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

GOOD FINAL DAY: Southern Fulton was knocked out of the District 5 Class 1A playoffs with a first round, 4-3 loss to Windber on Saturday.

But it was still a pretty good day for the Indians, who were playing in their first-ever district playoff game. They had lost 7-0 to the Ramblers earlier in the season, but this time played much better and actually held a 3-2 lead until the final few minutes.

"It was a nice day," SF coach Scott Varner said. "We had them all to Pizza Hut for lunch, then we had a short practice. Then we had a long bus ride together and played a nice game. The boys played their hearts out. It was all good except for that overtime goal that beat us."

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