GLEN ROCK – There's little doubt that the Central York boys' soccer team sits atop the York-Adams League pecking order in the opinion of most local fans and coaches.
One team that hasn't generated as much buzz is one that gave the Panthers all they could handle on Monday evening — Susquehannock.
Having graduated eight starters from a team that captured the York-Adams Division II title a season ago, the thought was that the Warriors might take a step back.
That thought can be summarily dismissed, especially after the Warriors' effort at home against the two-time reigning York-Adams League champs on Monday night.
The Panthers struck first late in the first half on a tally by Pierce Miller, but the home team was never really out of it. Generating nine shots on goal, Susquehannock peppered Central goalie Trevor Holderegger all night before finally breaking through with 5:25 left in regulation on a goal by Luke Thomas.
But as much pressure and discomfort as the Warriors caused for their opponent, Central was able to escape with a 2-1 victory in tow after an overtime tally by standout Igor Gomes with 4:59 left on the clock.
Having been pushed near the brink, the Panthers left with nothing but respect for Susquehannock.
"They're a tough side," Central York coach Frank Lenno said. "They have some really strong players in the middle. And (this game) was good for us. We need to be able to get some adversity."
The Panthers certainly got a big dose of that despite leading for more than half the contest. Miller put his team ahead with 8:34 left in the first half.
It appeared that goal would stand despite an onslaught of opportunities for the home side. A couple of balls that hit the post and some communication issues between Holderegger and his defense gave the Warriors chances.
But it wasn't until Thomas scored on a shot from inside the box with 5:15 left in regulation that the home team was able to break through.
That set the stage for a nerve-racking overtime for the Panthers, who felt a bit shell-shocked by the late tally. But fortunately for Lenno and his side, Miller showed off his play-making skills, dribbling around a couple defenders near the end line before finding Gomes in the box for the game winner.
"I just paid attention like coach said," Gomes said. "(Coach) said to attack the ball. I saw Pierce out wide and I just tapped it in."
While the Panthers left feeling better about themselves, the same can be said, and then some, for Coach Brett Maxwell's club.
"We played well," Maxwell said. "No one expected (us to be better). We lost eight starters and had a pretty good team last year, including the Division II Player of the Year. But some kids have really stepped up. I just have a group of young players that really committed themselves during the offseason and it's paid dividends. I don't think many people expected too much out of us, but I think we're going to be right back where we were (last year)."
OTHER BOYS' SOCCER
Cedar Cliff 4, Dover 3: At Dover, a bit of bad luck doomed the Eagles in a tight contest. After a David Trimmer goal knotted the score at 3-3, a low-driven cross from Cedar Cliff deflected off an Eagles defender and into the net for an own goal, giving the Colts the victory. Jaimee Palache scored the other three goals for Cedar Cliff. Trimmer finished with a pair of goals to lead Dover. Josh Bradley had the other Eagles goal.
Dallastown 1, Elizabethtown 1: At Elizabethtown, the Wildcats managed a road tie in a non-league contest thanks to a goal from Cade Curan. E-Town had an 11-3 edge in corners and an 8-7 edge in shots.
Spring Grove 2, Waynesboro 0: At Spring Grove, the Rockets received one goal apiece from Drew Gordon and Dakota Parker to allow them to secure the non-league victory. Also for the Rockets, Gavin Black picked up an assist, while Trevor Kern made five stops in goal to record the shutout.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.