BY ANTHONY ANDERSON
ELKHART -- Concord looked and sounded ready to seize this Elkhart Sectional boys soccer title, and it didn't hurt that savvy Jordan Burt pounced on a brief moment that Central wasn't ready.
Burt netted two goals and fellow senior Jaron Le made a handful of slick second-half keeper saves to preserve the shutout as the Minutemen knocked off the two-time defending champion Blue Blazers 3-0 in Saturday night's final at Memorial High School.
"I'm so proud of my boys," Concord coach Shawn McCuen said. "They're a class act, they work hard, they play with heart, they're technically sound and they're tactically sound. They bought into the concept this year that we're not links in a chain, but a complete chain together, 11 individuals on the field working as one."
"It feels awesome," Burt said. "(Central) eliminated us the past two years, so we wanted to make this our time. We were a little sketchy (in Thursday's semifinals) against ECA, but we played some of our best soccer tonight."
The 20th-ranked Minutemen (13-2-2) advanced to a LaVille Regional semifinal Wednesday against South Bend Clay (14-3-1). The two teams played to a scoreless tie during the regular season.
Central closed at 9-6.
Burt, who recently committed to Butler University on a partial Division I soccer scholarship, put Concord up 2-0 with 13:48 remaining in the first half when he lofted a 35-yard free kick into the upper right corner as the Blazers were still establishing their defensive wall.
"They were setting up the wall, and I didn't ask for 10 (yards of space), so that meant I didn't have to wait for the whistle," Burt said. "It was kind of open net with the goalie kind of out of place."
"That goal was a terrible mistake on our part to let them shoot like that," Central coach Robert Alvarado said, "but it's still a goal."
Alex Martin put the Minutemen on the board 13:15 into the game when he headed in Cam Doering's hooking pass from the left wing.
Burt tallied the final goal on a penalty kick midway through the second half after teammate Michael Granitz drew a foul in the box.
The Blazers kept battling and created several threatening chances. Among those were a Levi Noblitt free kick that Concord's Donald Mulroy managed to skim over the net with his head; a slick bicycle kick by Javier Ramirez; and a shot off the crossbar by Zach Eppers.
"I saved a couple, but luckily, Donald and the defense helped me out, too" said Le, who sat out all of last year due to illness.
"The friendship on this team is something different than I've ever seen in our program," Le said. "There were a lot of new kids this year and there were some doubts in the beginning, but we're playing well."
"They've got a solid defense and good strikers," Alvarado said of the Minutemen, "but I don't think this was a 3-nothing game. Actually, we had more shots than they did. Overall, I think we fought quite hard and the kids never gave up."
CONCORD 3, CENTRAL 0
Co -- Alex Martin (Cam Doering assist) 14th minute.
Co -- Jordan Burt (unassisted) 27th.
Co -- Burt (penalty kick) 55th.
Shots on goal: Concord 6, Central 9. Goalie saves: Concord -- Jaron Le 6, Shayn Hambrice 2; Central -- Ubaldo Diaz 3. Corner kicks: Concord 4, Central 7.
Records: Concord 13-2-2, Central 9-6.
Next: Concord vs. SB Clay in LaVille Regional semifinal Wednesday, 5 p.m. at Newton Park, Lakeville; championship Saturday, 7 p.m.