Perhaps every Seton fan in the stands at Richmond's Sports Backers Stadium knew exactly what was on sophomore striker Steve Duran's mind when he scored Seton's final goal Thursday evening in a 3-0 victory over Denbigh Baptist in the Virginia Independent Schools Division II boys' soccer championship game.
If they didn't, Duran made it clear when he charged to the sideline and lifted his jersey.
Duran, along with every other member of the Conquistadors, was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the letters K.C. in honor of a teammate, senior defender K.C. Dufrain, who was seriously injured in a car accident Nov. 1.
Dufrain, an accomplished Irish dancer who was hoping to perform at a world championship event in Ireland in the spring, lost control of the minivan he was driving on Prince William Parkway after attending dance lessons. Seton Coach Dan VanderWoude said Dufrain had been thrown from the vehicle when it struck a median and flipped several times.
"He is lucky to be alive -- we think it's a miracle that he survived," VanderWoude said of Dufrain, who was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital after suffering head trauma, a fractured shoulder and a gash on his ankle. "The doctors say there is a good chance he can recover fully, but it's going to take some time . . . at least several months."
Dufrain's accident came right before the start of the VIS state tournament, which Seton had never won, and his absence meant the Conquistadors would be without one of their top defenders.
But with senior goalkeeper Joe Daniel and junior Murray Campbell, senior Bob Allen, sophomore Nate Parriott and Dufrain's replacement, sophomore John Myers, Seton blanked three state tournament opponents, including Denbigh Baptist, which had not been shut out the past two years. The Conquistadors (13-3) shut out 11 of their 16 opponents this season.
Denbigh Baptist, a Newport News school, defeated Seton, 4-0, in last year's state championship thanks largely to the play of Andrew Hoxie, the Division II player of the year last season as a junior.
In Thursday's final, senior Pat leDatour, who made the switch from offense to defense solely for the championship game, kept close tabs on Hoxie.
"They were a juggernaut and our defense just did a number on them," VanderWoude said, adding that leDatour "just did a great job all game long, and he stayed with Hoxie the entire game."
Seton sophomore forward Jake Arnold notched the Conquistadors' first goal 10 minutes into the game, a lead that stood at halftime. Duran took over in the second half, scoring the second of his two goals with 20 minutes remaining.
Duran's celebration, however, drew a yellow card from officials, who cited a rule that players are not allowed to lift their jerseys above their heads on the field. Duran, who also had gotten a yellow card in the first half, was ejected.
"It was absolute bedlam" when Duran took his jersey off, VanderWoude said. "There were busloads of students in the stands with posters and banners. And with all that was going on -- playing in a huge stadium under the lights, against a team that destroyed us last year -- I think we weren't playing too close attention to a rule that says you can't take your jersey off."