Threatened with a pregame duct-taping by his coach for talking too much to referees, Billy Byers decided to use his head -- not his mouth -- in yesterday's D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association boys' soccer final.
The Wilson senior forward scored on a beautiful header, flicking a through ball behind him inside the post, in the first five minutes to give the Tigers the lead en route to a 2-0 victory over Bell at the RFK Stadium auxiliary field. The win was the second straight city championship and ninth overall for Wilson (13-4-3).
"My seniors drove me crazy all year," Wilson Coach Jeff Schultz said, smiling. "I was going to duct tape Billy's mouth because he talked so much to the referees. But I'm glad I didn't have to. I needed his head today."
Schultz also needed the two-way efforts of sophomores Rafael Ramos, Ryan Rosenbaum and Zaid Foty. Ramos sent a superb ball to assist on Byers's goal, Foty scored midway through the first half and the three players together helped shut down the Griffins (9-1), who amassed 13 shots but few strong chances.
When Bell players were able to break through Wilson's defense, sophomore keeper Peter Truitt kept them out of the net. He stopped a point-blank shot by sophomore Selvin Bermudez in the first half, causing Bermudez to grab his head in despair, and then dove to save a Louis Ngonzo-Biyo shot midway through the second half.
"When you make mistakes early, they come back to bite you at the end," Bell Coach Victor Molina said. "It was hard when we went down 2-0 to keep up the intensity."
And the referees' performance? Top notch, according to Byers.
"The referees were really good today," Byers said. "Sometimes I'm not always happy with them, but today everything was great."