Although the future of the Washington-Jasper soccer rivalry may be in jeopardy as both head to separate conferences next year, the present is still pretty intense, as the two schools battled for the Big 8 title on Thursday at the Complex.
And just like every other game between these two heated rivals, 94 minutes wasn’t enough time, and it would take penalty kicks to decide the crown after finishing 0-0 after overtime.
However, in a game this close, even the penalty kicks went down to the wire, as WHS was able to go 4-3 in PKs to secure the win and the title. WHS won on Mac Heacock’s final tally, as Heacock went left and the keeper guessed right, while Jacob Davis, Grant Niehaus and Lance Roach also scored, to complement a pair of great saves from keeper Joah Horrall and hand the final Big 8 soccer crown to the Hatchets.
“We said before the game that we are not going to lose the conference in a PK shootout. I don’t know if you noticed, but it was our five captains who were out there. I though Joah came up two great saves, how he got the second one I have no idea. Hats off to the guys, they were prepared and in a game like that you just have to grind it out,” said WHS coach Evan Stoll.
“The last three years have come down to this game for the conference title. They won on PKs two years ago, last year it was 2-2 going into the last five minutes and we were able to get a goal. These guys just have so much respect for each other, it was sad someone had to lose. I thought we were the better team in the first half and they were in the second, but it was just a great game.”
The Hatchets (12-3) spent most of the first 20 minutes in the Jasper half of the field. WHS had a pair of good chances as Brock Melton nearly converted off of a corner kick, followed shortly by Jacob Davis, going one-on-one down the left side.
Jasper’s best chance came off a free kick with 9:00 to play but keeper Joah Horrall handled it without much trouble. Melton and Davis nearly connect again, but Davis was hauled down in the box, although no call was made. WHS continued to pepper 6-6” Jasper keeper Quentin Harmon, but the half ended 0-0, in spite of WHS outshooting Jasper, 6-1.
The stalemate continued in the second half, but WHS still got chances. With 29:00 left, Roach had a goal robbed by Harmon, where he pulled a ball down from off the cross bar.
Mid-way through the second, the pace picked up considerably, but most of the action remained in the middle third of the field. Horrall had a couple of tricky balls to handle, but Jasper never had any real chances.
With under 6:00 to play, it looked like WHS would get the first goal as Brady Hill put a ball across the Jasper goal, but came up just short.
After a scoreless final five minutes, the game shifted to a pair of mandatory 7-minute overtime periods. WHS had a few opportunities during the first OT, but it was Horrall’s save with :22 left that was the biggest play of the OT.
The offensive level dropped a notch in the second OT, but again Horrall came up big in the final 1:30. WHS did have a free kick from Marvin Perez-Ramos with :29 left but the ball just missed over the cross bar and sending the game to PKs.
The Washington JV posted a 2-0 win, with a goal in each half.
The Hatchets travel to Heritage Hills on Saturday and finish off the regular season at Harrison on Oct. 3.