Stratford holds off Mount de Sales for state title

The Stratford Eagles got two first-half goals from John Treadwell and held on in the second half to win the GISA Class AAA soccer championship Saturday with a 3-2 win over Mount de Sales.

It’s the second straight championship for the Eagles and head coach James Jordan.

Treadwell a senior, scored on a header in the seventh minute, giving the Eagles the early advantage they were hoping for. He scored again in the 25th minute on another header off a free kick from Bo Stroup.

“It’s pretty much been a dream week for me,” said Treadwell, who started the year as a defender. “To score two goals in the championship game is just amazing. I had total faith in what this team could do this year.”

The Cavaliers were not going to go down easy. Trailing 2-0 at halftime, they came out and threatened several times, including a Chibuzo Nwosu shot that hit the top of the post. A few minutes later, Darvin Ebanks got the Cavaliers on the board on an Allan Butler assist. Mount de Sales had the momentum, and there were still 30 minutes to play.

“It’s almost impossible to control it when they start scoring,” Jordan said. “Obi Ekeledo had come out of the game for a few minutes. I challenged him to go on the attack. I thought he had been a little bit quiet, and I knew that we needed him to step up.”

Ekeledo, the leading score for Stratford, attacked the middle, beat several defenders and scored what proved to be the game-winner in the 56th minute. Despite a furious Cavaliers attack, which led to a Robert Ochieng score in the 76th minute, the Eagles had another championship.

“I know that people thought we were the underdog going into this game, but we were the defending state champions, so I didn’t see it that way,” Jordan said. “I knew that we had the ability to play this type of soccer. John Treadwell is such an unpredictable player, but one thing I know I will always get from him is passion and enthusiasm.

“That’s exactly what we needed. Mount de Sales is such a great team. They are what made us work harder at practice every day, because we knew we would have to defeat them to reach our goal. I give them credit.”

Mount de Sales head coach Iain Jones said the game came down to exactly what he thought it would.

“I said all along the team that was more mentally prepared would win this game,” Jones said. “I thought that they played with more heart than we did, and I thought they played like they wanted it more than we did. Treadwell was the difference. There were more talented players on the field, but no one had more heart than him (Saturday).”