DANVILLE — Take a county rivalry — put it in the sectional.
Tie the game with seconds left in regulation, and then have each team score once late in overtime to send it to penalty kicks.
Then have that go to the last shot.
They don’t make athletic contests any better than Monday night, when Southmont’s boys soccer team defeated Crawfordsville in the penalty-kick phase of overtime to advance to the second round of the sectional.
The score reads 4-4 (4-3) but after the two teams produced an instant classic in their regular season meeting, they made everyone forget that with an even better showing.
“I didn’t think it could ever get more exciting than the first time we played this season,” South coach Brandon Rash said, “but it sure did tonight. Our guys never gave up and never gave in. It was a great win.”
South’s Tyler Etchison made the last shot that technically won the game, as the senior drilled a penalty kick into the net. He was the fifth Mounties kicker of that first round, and the score was 3-3 when he stepped to the ball and got one past Athenians goal keeper Landon Timmons.
Crawfordsville had one last shot to tie the first round and send the match further into the night, but that shot hit the cross bar and bounced away, triggering a Mounties swarm onto the field.
“We’ve been on the other side of this,” Crawfordsville coach Marcus Hale said. “We have gotten through rounds of the tourney this way and tonight we didn’t. The season just ends so abruptly and it never feels good.”
This classic didn’t start as a classic, as South got the only goal of the first half, and that on a penalty kick goal by Beckett Jett.
The Athenians tied it at one when Kevin Barrera-Chinchilla punched in a goal from Shota Koyanagi just seconds into the second half.
South scored on another penalty kick, this from Connor Osborn, and C’ville tied it 18 minutes later on Barrera-Chinchilla’s second goal.
The Mounties took their third lead a few minutes later when Skyler Wood stole a pass and knocked it in. The Athenians tied it for the third time when Joseph Sanchez scored with only 21 seconds left on the clock.
In the second overtime, Crawfordsville took their first lead on Barrera-Chinchilla’s hat trick goal as time was dwindling.
The Mounties tied it up with 9.6 seconds left on the clock, as Taishi Greiner finished a mad scramble 15 yards out from the net and got on over the Athenians defense.
That sent it to the penalty-kick phase, and that series had three South leads, followed by three Athenians ties and then the game-winner.
Jett, Beck McIntyre and Greiner scored back-to-back-to-back, while Crawfordsville had Marshall Horton, Nick Wolcott and Javier Hernandez-Sanchez do the same, alternating between the South shooters. South goalkeeper Nicholas Curtis got a hand up on the fourth shot, starting to deflect it off the cross bar.
The match was very physical, more to the Mounties liking than the Athenians.
“We told the guys from the start to stay physical,” Rash said. “Play until the officials stop you. I thought we did a good job of staying close to that line. They game was also called a little differently than a lot of our regular season games in that some things got called and some things didn’t. It was a rivalry game, though, and that always amps things up.”
Hale noted the same.
“A county rivalry in any sport is going to get things going harder,” he said. “We really did a better job in the second half getting the 50-50 balls and got on the attack. South likes to play a more physical game, and we are a little more technical, but I sure want to congratulate South on the win.”
The sudden end also ends the soccer careers for six Athenians, as Hernandez-Sanchez, Wolcott, Jose Martinez, Chris Olvera, James Tinoco and Tristan Bronaugh will graduate.
“It has been an interesting year with injuries and player availability,” Hale said. “I’m very appreciative of all our seniors and all their hard work and effort. What we had happen is that our younger players got a lot of valuable experience that will pay off in the next years. We have Kevin (Barerra-Chinchilla) back also. He is a creative player and the ball seems to get to him. He had missed more than a week to rest and recover, so it was good to see him do well.”
The Athenians season ends at 5-11-1.
Southmont moves to 3-11-1 overall, but advances to the sectional semifinals Wednesday against Greencastle. Two of their three wins have come against the Athenians, and the South coaching staff was wondering along with others about the last time the Mounties had two wins against C’ville.
“We played really well with the lead,” Rash said. “I thought we controlled the game more when we had the lead. Scoring early really helped our confidence. We need to keep our heads Wednesday against Greencastle, stay focused and keep playing physical. Tonight was crazy good, but we have to keep our heads and play hard.”
The Wednesday matchup starts at 5 pm at Danville.