A county championship for the third straight season was always attainable for the Jericho boys soccer team as far as seniors Jack Roberts and David Greenbaum were concerned.
Despite uncharacteristically dropping a few games during the regular season, both players said they never doubted it.
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"Never," Roberts said. "I knew we would get healthy and I knew that we are a strong team. We were a little shaky at first, but it all came together at the right time."
The perfect occasion was Wednesday in the Nassau Class A final. Propelled by Greenbaum's go-ahead goal late in the second half, assisted by Roberts, the seventh-seeded Jayhawks won their third consecutive title as they defeated No. 2 South Side, 3-1, at Adelphi University.
With 8:28 left, Greenbaum found the back of the net to put Jericho (12-4-3) ahead 2-1. The play was well orchestrated. Jake Zorfis, on a corner kick, whipped the ball across to Roberts, who then headed it to Greenbaum while they were both near the crease.
"I'm ecstatic," Greenbaum said. "It was one of the greatest feelings ever. After that I knew it was going to be ours."
Andrew Greenblatt secured it for Jericho when he scored 25 seconds later off an assist by Noah Zeiff.
"It's always great to get a nice insurance goal late," said Greenblatt, who also added that a third title didn't come as a surprise. "I didn't doubt us getting here because we've been playing together for so long that we know how to win games."
The win didn't come easy. Zach Brown scored the opener for Jericho, but South Side seemed to be re-energized after its coach, Fred Paul, was issued a red card midway through the second half. Jack McKenna tied the score at 1 for the Cyclones (11-4-3) with 15:45 left.
Jericho's defense, led by goalkeeper Reed Ginsburg's 10 saves, prevented a late run.
The Jayhawks will play for the Long Island championship at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mitchel Athletic Complex against either Sayville or Glenn. If they win that, they will focus on making it three straight state championships.
"We're going to be tough to beat," Roberts said. "Next game will be hard, but I think we can go all the way again."