The Ramsey curse has finally been broken, with the Falcons boys’s soccer team beating the Rams by a score of 1-0, clinching their first state title in program history.
The Ramsey curse has haunted Jefferson over the past three years. A major contributor to that effort was the Falcons junior Cole Fitzgerald, who scored the lone goal of the game early in the first half. Jefferson’s defense was also a major factor, keeping the Rams away from offensive opportunities and helping goalie Jacob Wacker collect yet another shutout to his special season.
The Falcons got off to a quick start against the stacked Ramsey defense, when John Becker got an opportunity to set up Kevin Leonard to get the Falcons going quickly. Leonard attempted a bicycle kick as his only option and the dream shot bounced off the crossbar and over the net.
Shortly after the Falcons would get another chance. Buddy Jacobus took a long distance shot from the far left side but was denied by Ramsey goalie Ryan Haskell. The blocked shot popped up in the air towards Fitzgerald, who fired a header into the back of the net, getting Jefferson a 1-0 lead and scoring the first goal against Ramsey throughout the playoffs.
“Pure emotion. It just went on to prove that all that work since August paid off,” Fitzgerald said of the goal.
The Falcons’ attack would not stop there. Leading scorer Bryan Gaviria lined up for a long distance shot, but was turned down by Haskell. After the near 2-0 Falcons lead, Ramsey would start to secure possession quickly and often.
The Rams continuously marched down the field, however, were never able to beat the stellar Jefferson defense led by James Ryan, John Becker, and Dan Profaca. The Falcons also relied on Wacker, the statistically best goaltender in Jefferson history, who knocked away a Mir Ishaq opportunity late in the half. The lockdown Falcons defense held the J-Town lead, 1-0 heading into halftime.
The Rams continued to apply pressure to start the second half. Ishaq and the rest of the Ramsey squad continued to pour shots on goal at Wacker and the rest of the Falcons’ defense. The best of Ramsey’s opportunities came with fifteen minutes left George Haskell sent across a corner kick to the middle of the field for the Rams. A shot off the corner came in to the right corner of the net, where Jefferson goalie Wacker wasn’t. However, to save the Falcons season, John Becker knocked the ball away and forced it out of bounds.
The Falcons’ defense continued to push the ball out of bounds, enough to secure the Falcons in the record books as first-time state champions.
“They’re fantastic,” coach Travis Gage said on the senior class. “Just watching them play and celebrate, I’m so excited for them.”