Hereford waited 20 years for a return trip to the state title game. The wait for a championship, however, continues.
Clarksburg took command with a pair of early goals, and the Montgomery County school won its first state title with a 3-0 victory over No. 7 Hereford in the Class 3A championship game Thursday night at foggy UMBC Stadium.
The Bulls last made it to a state title game in 1989 when they shared the Class 2A championship with Andover. Hereford also split the Class 1A state title each of the two previous years and then have made it to the state semifinals six times since, but the Bulls couldn't get back to the finals until this game.
The two quick goals put Clarksburg (13-1-3) in command as West Virginia-bound senior Julio Arjona Jr., scored in the seventh minute, and Ketch Akum made it 2-0 in the 11th minute.
"Once you are up two goals, the momentum changes a little," said Hereford coach Mike Lacko. "We played hard throughout the rest of the game. We kept up the intensity, and we never let down."
Akum's goal hurt Hereford (12-3-1) as it ricocheted off one of the Bulls from the left side about 20 yards out and quickly flew into the far right corner, leaving goalie Mike Warns no chance to react.
That was more than enough for Clarksburg, which allowed just five goals all season. The Coyotes added insurance early in the second half when Nick Civetti scored on a rebound to make it 3-0.
John Frasier got a few good chances for Hereford, one in the early minutes and another on a direct kick in the second half. But the Bulls' best opportunity probably came with about nine minutes left when Cole Fisher fired a shot that Clarksburg goalie Austin Fiedler deflected over the crossbar.
"We gave it our all," Hereford's Steve Cassedy said. "We just fell one game short."
Goals: C-Arjona, Jr., Akum, Civetti. Assist: C-Civetti. Saves: H-Warns; C-Fiedler 2. Half: C, 2-0.