SOMERSET — There's no love lost between the Bedford Bisons and the Somerset Eagles boys soccer teams.
The teams battled for the third time this season and for the sixth time in two years Thursday for the District 5 Class AA boys soccer championship. Bedford claimed the title with a hard-fought 2-1 win.
It is the Bisons first District 5 title after winning District 6 gold the previous two years. They defeated the Eagles last year in overtime in the District 6 title game.
Bedford's Blake Baer blasted the game-winner into the near corner on a rebound of a Lalo Munzo shot with 8:41 remaining in the game.
"I was just hungry for the ball," Baer said. "We needed the ball and it popped to my feet. God blessed me with a really good shot that found the back of the net. My calf was cramping so I came out for a bit. I could still feel the cramp when I took the shot. I knew our team needed that goal. This is our third district title win in a row and it holds a special place in our hearts."
The top-seeded Bisons (18-1) drew first blood with 19:20 left in the first half. Garrett Thomas beat the Eagles defense and put a shot in low under goalkeeper Sam Hayward.
Somerset countered with 14:58 remaining in the half. Seth Law sent a perfect pass between defenders and Kody Williams buried it in the back of the net under Bedford goalie James Jeffries.
Bedford had a flurry of shots just over two minutes later that resulted in nothing as the Eagles defense came up huge stuffing the box.
The Bisons controlled the tempo and possession much of the game.
"We talked at halftime about shoring up a hole in the middle that they were getting through balls in," Bedford head coach Jeff Thomas said. "That was how they scored on us.
"This has to be special. There aren't too many teams who can say they won three straight championships."
Bedford will take on District 9 representative Bradford Saturday at 7 p.m. at Northern Bedford in a sub-regional playoff game, for the right to go to the PIAA state playoffs.
"I'm still envisioning the ball going into the net with less than two minutes to go," Somerset head coach Mark Wassilchalk said. "But it just didn't happen. After what we lost last year, not many people gave us a chance to even be competitive in this game. We are very proud of what this group achieved this year. It's not going take the pain away now. You wish them luck as they advance, but at the same time I really want to be in their shoes right now."
Somerset finished the season with an overall record of 11-5-2 and will lose three seniors and two exchange students to graduation.