Forest Hills Central blanks Canton to earn first Division 1 title since 2004
Brighton – Anthony Bowie remembers the days when he was one of three freshmen on a five-win soccer team at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central.
Bowie and his talented senior class will exit the school as state champions.
Mr. Soccer candidate Bowie scored a first-half goal and set up a late insurance tally, as the second-ranked Rangers capped an undefeated season Saturday at Brighton High School. Central captured its first state title since 2004 and first in Division 1 with a 2-0 shutout of defending state champion and ninth-ranked Canton.
It marked the 10th straight season that the Division 1 finals ended with a shutout.
“We had three freshmen on varsity that year (2012). We were really young. We had seven sophomores on varsity the next year and 12 (juniors) last year,” said Bowie. “This year we knew we had a very special group of guys and it all came together this year for us.”
Forest Hills Central (23-0-3) last won a state title in 2004, in Division 2 over Rochester Stoney Creek (3-2) behind then-Mr. Soccer award winner Jake Stacy.
Bowie missed last season with a knee injury, but had quite a breakthrough season as one of Michigan’s top talents this fall. The lightning-quick sniper has stacked claim to be amongst the state’s Mr. Soccer candidates with his 42-goal outburst this season.
“We didn’t win much my first year here, but we kept getting better and better each year since. We were hoping that this would be the group that brought us back,” said fourth-year FHC central coach Blair Lincoln. “This group came together and had a very special season.
“Bowie came back this year and was exceptional, tying our school record with goals and leading us here,” continued Lincoln. “I think he’ll be up for Mr. Soccer. He has a great chance. He was in on close to 70 goals. He had something like 24 assists, too.”
Bowie scored what proved to be the game-winner within 17:25 left in the first half, when he volleyed in a close-range cross from senior Max Postlewait.
Canton was the the defending Division 1 state champion.