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C.B. East ends perfect season with state crown

HERSHEY - The chant rang out enthusiastically from the Central Bucks East student section with four minutes remaining in the PIAA Class AAA boys' soccer championship.

Members of the Central Bucks East team celebrate their state championship Saturday night in Hershey.
Members of the Central Bucks East team celebrate their state championship Saturday night in Hershey.Read moreBradley C. Bower / For The Inquirer

HERSHEY - The chant rang out enthusiastically from the Central Bucks East student section with four minutes remaining in the PIAA Class AAA boys' soccer championship.

East . . . East!

One . . . One!

Champs . . . Champs!

It may have been a little early to declare the game over, but the cheering wasn't at all premature.

From the moment the Patriots walked onto the turf Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium they looked like the undefeated juggernaut that has rolled through opponents this season.

Then they went out there and made sure they stayed that way, defeating Seneca Valley, 2-0, to claim the program's first state title.

"I think it makes it more amazing that they finished 26-0 - not a dent, not a blemish," said coach Mike Gorni, who is retiring after 21 years with the team.

"Now that it's done, I would have been unbelievably disappointed for them had we not won tonight," Gorni said. "I'm an old guy, I've been around this a long time. I would have been OK. But this is really sweet."

How did C.B. East get to 26-0?

Exactly like they've been winning all year: with a balanced effort.

Brian Gilligan scored 13 minutes into the contest and Evan Vare finished a beauty 19 minutes later.

"We were driving up and you see the lights, the stadium, you see all the fans," goalkeeper Austin Prime said. "Walking on the field to warm up - I don't think I've experienced anything like it."

Through it all was a stingy defense, a group that earned its 16th shutout.

"I think we wanted it more," Vare said. "We came out with fire. Austin Prime was unbelievable. He had some great saves that were just ridiculous. He was our leader tonight."

The medals were received. The five-pound Hershey bar was given out. The state championship trophy was lifted and lifted some more.

The C.B. East players hoisted it so much that afterward, Vare held the golden soccer ball in his right hand and the wooden base in his left. It had broken into two pieces.

Vare shrugged.

The trophy can be put back together. The celebration was worth it.

Central Bucks East 2 0 - 2

Seneca Valley 0 0 - 0

Goals: CBE-Brian Gilligan, Evan Vare.

Saves: CBE-Austin Prime 6; SV-Luke Pecora 4.

rallysports@phillynews.com