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Third Time’s The Charm For Clarence Boys Soccer In Far West Regionals

For the third straight season, Clarence boys soccer star Taha Ahmed found himself in tears after the Class AA Far West Regionals. This time, however, these were tears of joy.

Ahmed scored in the 65th minute and the Red Devils erased back-to-back disappointments and won the Class AA Far West Regionals for the first time since 2010 with a 1-0 win over Hilton on Saturday night at Sweet Home High School.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling, all the emotions,” he said. “I just went over there and started crying because this is so unreal. This is the third time we’ve been to regionals and the first time we’ve actually done it. All the hard work we put in, it all paid off with this win.”

Clarence won the sectional crown in Class AA in each of the last two seasons – and earned eight titles in 10 years. But in both 2016 and 2017, the Red Devils dropped a 1-0 decision.

Not this time.

“The third time’s a charm and third time was well-deserved,” coach Mike Silverstein said. “These kids put their heart into it since Aug. 14, they knew what they wanted. They wanted that experience to play at states. But you know what? Their plate isn’t full yet. They want more.”

Next up is the state semifinal, which will be played on Saturday at Middletown High School, located in the Hudson Valley region. The state final is Sunday.

“I’m so excited,” Silverstein said after his team moved to 17-2. “I’m so excited to go.”

He’s going largely because of the man that started the season as the team’s starting goalkeeper before being moved up front in what will likely go down as one of the wisest decisions of Silverstein’s illustrious coaching career.

Kenny Suen – who scored the OT winner in the sectional semifinals – streaked in from the left side and fed Ahmed, who headed it home for his 12th goal of the season.

“I saw Kenny running down the line and I knew he was quicker than the defender,” Ahmed said. “I knew he was going to get some sort of a service in. So I just got myself between the PK and the 6 and luckily it bounced right in off my head.”

The Far West Regional was a typical Clarence boys soccer game. The Red Devils played shut down defense and took advantage of their best opportunity. The Red Devils had a number of great chances in a flurry a few minutes earlier before finally getting the winner.

“I felt we were controlling pace and creating chances,” Silverstein said. “We played very well today. This is probably the best 80 minutes we played all year and we needed it against them.”

In Class A, Williamsville East was not as fortunate. The Flames battled back twice but not a third time as Section V’s Brighton claimed the regional title with a 3-2 win.

“They definitely out-possessed us,” retiring Williamsville East coach Jeff Librock said. “Early on, we had a few good chances – hit a post as well. But in the end, they were just a little stronger team than we are.”

Cameron Townsend and Trey Buscaglia scored for the Flames. Sam Townsend scored two goals for Brighton and Gabriel Barraclough-Tan scored the game-winner with 21:27 for the Barons.

East Aurora won the Class B championship game, 2-0 over Bath Haverling. Alex Baase and Jonathon Putney scored for the Blue Devils.

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