DACULA — In a game it had so thoroughly dominated, Hebron Christian had to look at the scoreboard with bewilderment to find the score tied with Fellowship Christian at the end of regulation of their Class A second-round soccer state playoff game Tuesday.
“We were definitely in disbelief,” Hebron head coach Bob Gardner said. “Not to take anything away from Fellowship, but we got sloppy in the back and felt like we let them back in the game. Luckily we put some passes together in overtime and overcame some sloppy play.”
Hebron finally prevailed when Andrew Thompson scored the game-winning goal on an assist from Cole Redman with 2:42 remaining in OT as the Lions escaped with a 4-3 win.
The hosts controlled play throughout the first half. With Fellowship goalkeeper Deklan Reid under continual assault, Hebron’s Thompson, Redman, and Ben Ungerer all just missed on prime scoring chances.
“We had opportunities with open shots that went wide that normally go in,” said Gardner.
But the Lions finally broke through midway through the first half when Redman centered a perfect pass to a sprinting Jacob Harper. Harper flicked a shot past Reid for a 1-0 lead.
The Lions kept the field tilted toward the Fellowship goal, and Braden Elmer extended the lead to 2-0 with a goal in the waning minutes of the half.
“We were comfortable at half, even though we weren’t playing well,” said Gardner. “When you let a good team like Fellowship have chances when you’re not up 4-0, it just gives the other team belief that they can come back.”
After trading goals, Fellowship Christian mounted a rally. Jake Williamson scored his second goal on a breakaway to carve the Lions lead to 3-2 with 23:49 remaining. Dalton Depew knotted the game on a goal with 4:43 to send the teams into overtime.
“Credit Fellowship, they did a great job” said Gardner. “We hadn’t played since April 23 so hopefully we can move on with practice, get better from this, and get ready for Paideia.”