COLEBROOK N.H. -- The title wasn't just celebrated in Colebrook.
The North Country as a whole was on hand as the Colebrook Mohawks boys' soccer team returned from Penacook Sunday night after winning their first-ever state title. Their 1-0 overtime win over Moultonborough capped a season in which they ended up with an overall record of 18-1-1.
Geremy Gould hooked up with Robert Brunault to score the winning goal on a play that was started on an Eric Fothergill throw-in. "Eric threw the ball in to Jeff Richer, who tried to head it over to Ryan Call," Colebrook coach Rob Gooch said. "A Moultonborough player got a foot on the ball but didn't get much on it, and [Colebrook's] Robert Brunault got it and sent it across to Geremy." Gould settled the ball, and his shot from about 20 yards out skipped off the post and went into the net.
The celebration began when Gould's shot crossed the goal line, and didn't stop until after the players went home that night. "Fire trucks escorted us from Lancaster into Colebrook," Gooch said. "Lancaster fire trucks took us to Groveton, then Groveton trucks took us into Stratford, and then the Colebrook Fire Department met us at the town line and escorted us into town. All the North Country towns were a part of it - it was nice to see," Gooch noted. "The support we got from fans this year was great." The Groveton girls' team, which also won the Class S title on Sunday, received similar support, he added.
Numbers tell quite a story of the Mohawks' season. In only one game during the regular season did they allow more than one goal; that was during a 9-2 win over Gorham. Eight of their 14 regular season wins were shutouts, and overall, they outscored their opponents 67-9 in earning the second seed in the Class S tournament. The top seed was Moultonborough, which beat Colebrook 1-0 in the regular season finale for the Mohawks' only loss. One other regular season game with Moultonborough ended in a scoreless tie, which made the championship victory that much sweeter.
Ryan Call had an extraordinary year, leading Colebrook in scoring with 35 goals and nine assists. His nine assists is one more than he had his previous four years as a varsity player. His career totals include 105 points on 88 goals and 17 assists.
His linemate of five years, Reno Gilbert, missed three games due to injury, and ended up with regular season totals of six goals and eight assists.
Gilbert kicked it up another notch when the tournament came along, coming up with nine points in the Mohawks' four victories on six goals and three assists. It reflected the team's performance as a whole; they blew through Groveton and Woodsville in the first two rounds by scores of 7-0 and 6-0 respectively. The 6-0 quarterfinal performance against Woodsville, Gooch called the best game of the season. "We clicked on all cylinders that day," he noted.
That led to another solid performance in the semis, in which Gilbert scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Derryfield.
Overall it was a solid season and post-season in which Colebrook was solid on both sides of the ball. Goalie Brad Woodard and defensemen Ryan Rossitto, Nate Marquis, Brian Gooch and Adam Fothergill were as good at their end of the field as Call, Gilbert and the forwards were.
Out of the nine seniors on this year's team, Call, Gilbert, Ryan Rossitto, and Adam and Eric Fothergill, are five-year varsity members under coach Gooch. Asked how it felt for the Gooch brand of soccer to have resulted in a state championship, the self-effacing coach mentioned summer camps run by Dave Pinkham, the long-time coach at Gilford (N.H.) High School. "He ran camps here last summer  and this past summer," he said. "I consider him my sort of coaching mentor. I watched him and tried to pick up how he did things.
"Most of our players attended the camps," he went on, "and he said at the camp two years ago that we could compete for a state championship. He mentioned it again this year, and he was right. He saw the skill and intensity in our players."
In addition to the five seniors already mentioned, the Mohawks will lose key players Woodard, Gould, Nate Marquis and Jeremiah Stevens.
They'll be starting largely anew then, in 2008, but 2007 will be a year to remember for Colebrook Mohawks boys' soccer.