ST. JOHNSVILLE — For the Snells, soccer is the family business.
With two Snells on the coaching staff and two on the field, business is booming for the Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville boys’ soccer team.
The Wolves are coached by Mark Snell, who is assisted by his brother, Robert. On the field, Mason Snell is the team’s leading scorer, while Andrew Snell is second on the team in scoring. Mason is Robert’s son and Mark’s nephew, while Andrew is Mark’s son and Robert’s nephew.
“It’s good to play for them,” Mason Snell said of his father and uncle. “They know how we play and it’s fun to do it together. They support us and it’s fun to spend time together.”
This season, the Snells have combined for 34 goals and 17 assists as OESJ has outscored its opposition by a 67-9 margin. Mason Snell has 20 goals and four assists, while Andrew Snell has 14 goals and 13 assists.
In his sixth year on varsity, Mason Snell, a senior, has helped the Wolves to a 68-21-5 record in his time on the team, while in his fourth season, Andrew, a junior, has helped OESJ to a 53-10-1 mark since he joined the team in 2018.
This year marks the final season that there will be two Snells on the field at the same time as the OESJ roster has also featured Jacob Snell, who is Mark’s son, and Robert Snell, who is Robert’s son, in recent years.
“It’s fun to do this with family,” said Mark Snell, who is in his fifth season as OESJ coach.”It makes it that much better.”
OESJ was unbeaten this season and had a 20-game unbeaten streak dating back to the 2019 Class D title game until a 4-0 loss at Gloversville on Saturday.
Andrew Snell, who was named to the small-school all-state team last spring, has 50 goals and 52 assists in his four seasons with OESJ after joining the varsity team as an eighth-grader in 2018.
Andrew Snell said playing last spring helped the Wolves as the layoff between seasons was much shorter.
“I think it’s helped because it was less of a break,” Andrew Snell said.
Mason Snell, who joined the varsity in 2016 as a seventh-grader, has 89 goals and 31 assists in his six seasons.
Though the Snell family has played a large role in OESJ’s success, they are surrounded by an experienced roster that includes a total of seven seniors and five juniors.
In addition to Mason Snell, seniors Owen Feagles, Jesse Walrath, Ian Hayes, Issiah Handy, Paetyn Logan Dillenbeck and Ian Smith have played key roles for OESJ. Along with Andrew Snell, juniors Tristan Stever, Jordon Simzer, Christian Mosher and Aiden Clute are also key contributors.
“There’s nothing like doing things with your family,” Andrew Snell said. “This whole team is like a family though. We’ve played together forever.”
This season, OESJ is 9-1-1 overall and 6-0-1 in WAC play and ranked fifth in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association Class D poll. The Wolves will face a tough test tonight (Oct. 4) when they travel to Mayfield for a Western Athletic Conference contest at 7 p.m. The Panthers are 8-1 overall and 6-0 in WAC play. They are ranked 13th in the latest Class C poll and their only loss came against Greenville in the finals of the Mayfield Tournament on Sept. 18 by a 2-0 margin. The Spartans are ranked second in the latest state Class B poll.
“We’re always working to improve,” Andrew Snell said. “It’s always good to play tough teams to see where you stand and what you need to work on.”
One piece of unfinished business for the Snells is a sectional title. OESJ lost to Fort Ann in 2018 and 2019 in the Section II Class D title game. The 2018 loss still lingers as the Wolves lost 2-1 in overtime to the Cardinals.
“Our goal is to win sectionals,” Andrew Snell said.
OESJ, which hadn’t lost since its 2-0 2019 title-game defeat against Fort Ann until Saturday at Gloversville, is looking to finish on top of the Class D heap this fall.
“This group has been playing together since AYSO soccer,” Mason Snell said. “Winning sectionals is our goal for sure. We want to go as far as we can this season because it’s our last season all together.”