BROWNSBURG — Heartache permeated Cascade’s postgame huddle and tears flowed. Cadets coach Logan Faulkner’s voice choked up at times as he addressed his team after their 2-1 fall to Bethesda Christian in game two of Sectional 50 Wednesday night.
At the 75:09 mark with Cascade trailing 2-0, Bethesda was called for a handball in the box. Cascade senior midfielder Hayden Suter buried the penalty in the lower right-hand side of goal. Hayden and a couple of teammates followed Bethesda goalkeeper Jake Mlagan into the back of the net to retrieve the ball for an expedited kickoff.
Cascade fell just short of notching an equalizer. The Cadets had to rush a free kick from the right side near the end line as the final 10 seconds ticked away.
It wasn’t enough.
“It’s almost impossible to replace Taylor Wilson, Suter, Kyle Harbison, Austin Decker (and) Cameron Phillips ... those guys, you can’t,” Faulkner said. “They’re such great players, such class acts. When I came in three years ago, we had a program that was in shambles. Where we’re at now, I cannot imagine (life) without them.”
Bethesda sophomore Ethan McNaughton tallied both Patriots’ goals.
In the 15th minute, he headed home across from the right side by teammate Triston McNaughton.
About 14 minutes later, McNaughton delivered what Bethesda coach Steve Bushre called a brilliant goal via a free kick from 22 yards away. After scoring, he turned and blew celebratory kisses toward the stands.
Cascade had a chance to score in the final minute of the first half off of a free kick as Decker was unmarked at the near post. He couldn’t keep his header on frame and Cascade trailed 2-0 at the break.
Bushre said he was happy to get the win.
“Either way, you’ve got to give credit to (Cascade), because that was a hard-fought game,” he said. “It could’ve gone either way. We were happy to get a couple of goals and be able to have some breathing room at the end.”
The Bruins dispatched Greencastle in the first game, 5-0, to advance to the championship game against Bethesda Saturday night. Tri-West coach Jeff Denny said the Bruins did so despite a somewhat sloppy first half.
“We were able to play a little bit more conservative (in the second half),” he said.
Though the Bruins lost the toss, Greencastle chose to defend the west goal, with players’ backs to the setting sun. That worked out well, Denny said, as the Bruins led 3-0 at the half.
Tri-West sophomore forward Jaret DeGoyler scored twice in the first half as teammate Joey Pfeifer added another goal. Logan Stroup assisted on all three goals.
Two minutes into the second half, Stroup scored what would be the first of his two second half goals with assists going to Kyle Kirby and Lucas Brown.
Tri-West and Bethesda meet for the sectional championship at 7 p.m. Saturday at Bethesda.