"A lot of people called us a Cinderella team," Abington senior midfielder Ryan Burns said. "But inside, we knew we were good. We knew we were capable of this."
Abington reached the top of the district mountain after finishing second in 2007. "This team just finds a way to score goals," longtime Ghosts coach Randy Garber said. "We were lucky enough to score [at least] two goals in every playoff game."
Tuesday, in the opening round of the state playoffs, Abington will take on District 3's third-place finisher at a site and time to be determined. Next for C.B. East, which also advanced, is the District 2 winner.
"We've had a very good run," Patriots coach Mike Gorni said. "It wasn't our night. It was Abington's night."
Against C.B. East, junior goalkeeper Austin Brotman notched three saves. "Our offense was good all year, but our defense has stepped it up in the playoffs," Burns said.
With 101/2 minutes remaining, junior forward Kurt Howard's goal, on an assist from senior midfielder Danny Sheppard, clinched it.
Abington went in front, 2-1, with just 6.4 seconds remaining before intermission. On a missed clearance that put backspin on the ball, the 5-foot-8, 120-pound Burns converted a header.
"It was [midfielder] Chris Tracey who did all the hard work around the goal," Burns said. "The ball bounced, and I just tried to get enough on it to put it over the goalie's head."
The Patriots took a 1-0 advantage on junior Kyle Clow's score with 11 minutes, 35 seconds left in the first half. Just 33 seconds later, the Ghosts' Steven Dillon deadlocked things.
Earlier at Souderton, in the third-place game, Trey Ziegler's tally with 3 minutes, 23 seconds remaining lifted No. 13 Souderton to a 2-1 victory over No. 15 Pennsbury. Freshman Nate Verso accounted for the Indians' other second-half score.
Abington 2 1 – 3
Central Bucks East 1 0 – 1
Goals: A-Steven Dillon, Ryan Burns, Kurt Howard; CBE-Kyle Clow.
Saves: A-Austin Brotman 3; CBE-Jacob Nesteruk 7.
Contact Rick O'Brien at email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @ozoneinq. Read his blog, "The O'Zone," at www.philly.com/ozone