KARNS CITY – Scoring opportunities were plentiful for Bedford’s boys soccer team this season.
They managed a bevy of them in Tuesday’s PIAA Class AA first-round playoff game against Karns City, but unlike the team’s first 16 games, each chance was met with frustration.
Bedford did not score in a first half in which the field was heavily tilted in its favor and the host Gremlins took advantage.
Senior midfielder Dakota King got to a rebound and booted it past Bisons’ goalkeeper Chris Klinger in the 75th minute for the game’s only score in a 1-0 decision at Diehl Stadium.
Owen Collwell put the initial shot on net from the left side. Klinger made a diving save on that attempt, but the ball bounced out to King, who let his shot go from 15 yards.
The loss ended Bedford’s season. The Bisons (16-1) entered the game undefeated after scoring 95 goals on the year.
“I figured this was going to be a one-goal game,” said Bedford coach Barrett Schrock. “It was just a matter of which team was going to get that break. Karns City is a good team and it was their time.”
Bedford had a couple of late opportunities, one coming in the 79th minute. Chase DeLong took a free kick from 40 yards.
A Karns City player headed the ball before Nate Kovach got a shot off from 20 yards to the left of Karns City goalkeeper Mallick Metcalfe, but it was wide right of the net.
“We had a good game plan coming in and we stuck to it,” said DeLong. “We just weren’t able to put the ball in the back of the net.”
The Bisons earned three corner kicks in the first half, with one coming in the 28th minute and resulting in Braden Ford’s header that was stopped by Metcalfe.
Eight minutes later, it was Josh Diehl’s turn to be denied. He received a centering pass from the left of the net and his header was off the mark.
While a dose of bad luck contributed to the Bisons’ inability to score, Schrock gave credit to Karns City (13-1-1).
“We didn’t get our possession game going like we wanted to,” he said. “Karns City had something to do with that. They are a faster and more physical team than we’re used to seeing.”
The Gremlins, who did not force Klinger to make a save until 15 seconds before halftime, spent more time in the attacking third in the second half.
King and Collwell both had legitimate scoring chances before the former scored late in the game.
“In the first half, we put a lot of high pressure on them because they like to drop it back,” Karns City coach Jim Grenninger said of the Bisons.
“But in the second half we stopped that because we needed some rest ... decided to bring (defender) Chase Beighley up to create some push that way and it worked.”
Klinger finished with five saves for Bedford, while Metcalfe stopped six shots.
Despite the loss, DeLong said he and his teammates can already appreciate their dominant run this season.
“This year was truly one for the record books at Bedford,” he said.