By E. Grieco
The St. Paul’s School Boys Football Varsity team started the season with many ups and downs, but had and exceptional end as they had a massive win against their rivals, the Chapel Trojans, to conquer the SPHSL tournament.
There are five teams in the Sao Paulo High School League: St. Paul’s, Graded, Chapel, PACA, and EAC. Each team plays twice against each other, and in the end, two teams are disqualified (5th and 4th place), two teams go on to play the semi-finals (3rd and 2nd place), and the team that finishes the League in 1st place is automatically qualified for the final. Despite starting the season with the wrong foot, and losing valuable points against EAC, Chapel, and Graded, the boys finished in 2nd place and hosted the semi-finals at home against the Graded Eagles. The winner of the semi-finals would play against the Trojans at Chapel School – EAC and PACA had already been eliminated.
The Semi-final against Graded was a frenetic football game. Both teams had few opportunities, and the side that took their chances more efficiently would have won the game. The match was extremely tight, and not even overtime was enough to separate both teams; the semi-finals were going to be decided on penalties. Arthur Schahin, Pedro Arantes, Joao Hernanny and Joshua Duarte all scored and our goalkeeper, Enzo Grieco, saved one of the penalty kicks. The last penalty kick was shot wide by Graded’s midfielder, which meant that the Lions were qualified to the final against Chapel.
Interestingly enough, last year’s final was exactly the same as in this year; against Chapel away from home. Unfortunately, in 2017 the boys lost the match by 2-1. This served as a motivation for them to win the championship this year! Similarly to the semi-final, the game started off with no shots on target for either team. It was a very even contest, and the match seemed to be going to overtime, when in the last few minutes our Captain, Pedro Arantes, scored an absolute screamer from outside of the box; St Paul’s 1x0 Chapel. The Trojans were playing long balls into the box during the final minutes attempting to score an equalizer, but that wasn’t enough to break past against our back line. The match ended, and the Lions were crowned champions of the SPHSL 2018 tournament!
This was an amazing achievement in which the boys worked very hard for. This title was a reflection of their hard work and commitment throughout the entire season. Congratulations to all the players and staff members and I hope there will be plenty more to come in 2019!