It's been a long time since Bermudian Springs won a division title in boys' soccer.
So long, in fact, that the seniors on this year's team were in first grade the last time it happened.
But that all ended when Bermudian defeated Littlestown, 6-1, in YAIAA Division III action on a crisp Thursday night at Memorial Field in Littlestown.
With the victory, Bermudian claims its first division crown since winning YAIAA Division III in 2004.
"It's unbelievable how far we've come in the past three years," Bermudian senior co-captain Johnny King said. "The best part is that we did it as a team and we brought the program back."
Bermudian (14-2, 11-1 YAIAA III) was 1-16 in 2012 prior to current head coach James Zerfing taking over the reins. In each of the past two years, the Eagles went 8-8 before entering 2015 with 13 seniors on the roster and high expectations to start the year.
"I knew a lot of these kids from being involved with the AYSO program for a long time," Zerfing said. "I coached a lot of them when they were younger and I knew we had the capability of doing this. I told (athletic director) Mr. (Dave) Orwig that I believed that when he interviewed me and I have to give him a lot of credit for believing in the program and giving me this opportunity."
Bermudian split with two-time division champion Biglerville this season, winning 1-0 before losing 2-1. But when the Canners lost to York Catholic a week ago, the door was open for the Eagles to claim the title outright. Though they needed overtime to knock off Delone Catholic just a couple hours after Biglerville was upset, the Eagles won that match after an own goal tied the contest for them with 17 seconds left in regulation.
"Sometimes you need a little luck, too," Zerfing said. "York Catholic really helped us out, but then we needed a miracle to beat Delone."
Winning a division title wasn't the only historical footnote that occurred for the Eagles on Thursday.
Sam Johnson scored Berm's first goal of the night less than eight minutes in, his 22nd of the year, and it pushed him into sole possession of the school's single-season goal-scoring record. The previous record was set at 21 in 2004 by Kyle Flickinger. Johnson added another goal in the second half and sits at 23 for the year.
"I'm excited about it," Johnson, another co-captain, said. "But I can't do it without Johnny, Chris (Felipe) and Jake (Halfman), our midfielders, to set me up. And it's even more important that we are winning games. We have a great back line with Dylan (Lott) and Hunter (Boal) anchoring it and Danny (Alvarez) in goal."
Halfman bumped the lead to 2-0 with 21:56 left in the first half on an assist from Lott. Then Lott finished a cross from King with 9:03 to play in the half for the first goal of Lott's career. A center back, Lott doesn't get many opportunities to score.
Johnson, King and Alfonso Lopez-Martinez netted goals in the second half to polish off the Eagles' scoring.
Littlestown (2-14, 1-11) avoided the shutout when Michael Mikesell scored with 18:35 left.
Bermudian owned a 25-2 edge in shots on goal and a 12-1 advantage in corners.
The Eagles now prepare for a YAIAA quarterfinal matchup with YAIAA II runner-up Susquehannock on Saturday at a time and place to be determined. Win or lose there, they will have a District 3 Class AA first round match on Monday, Oct 26 against an opponent to be announced.
"We'll enjoy this tonight," Zerfing said. "But we've got to get to work and prepare for Susquehannock on Saturday. They're a good team and they'll be a tough challenge for us."
First Half — 1. BeS, Sam Johnson, 32:38. 2. BeS, Jake Halfman (Dylan Lott), 21:56. 3. BeS, Lott (Johnny King), 9:03.
Second Half — 4. BeS, Johnson, 35:15. 5. BeS, King, 33:05. 6. BeS, Alfonso Lopez-Martinez (Halfman), 28:52. 7. Lit, Michael Mikesell, 18:35.
Shots on Goal — BeS 25, Lit 2
Corners — BeS 12, Lit 1
Goalies — BeS, Danny Alvarez (1 save), Lit, Jacob Owings (19 saves)
J.V. Score — Bermudian 2, Littlestown 2