‘The hardest game I’ve played in my life.’ PKs decide boys’ state quarterfinal.
October 26, 2019
After what looked to have been the game-winning save in a penalty kick shootout, Henry Clay’s Ethan Anderson was ruled off his line for the try, and his prematurely celebrating Blue Devils teammates had to return to their sideline.
No matter, Anderson saved the next one, too.
This second time, the referees let the players rush in as Henry Clay beat Highlands 4-3 on PKs after a 1-1 tie in regulation plus an extra 10 minutes of overtime.
“It’s the hardest game I’ve played in my life,” Anderson said. “I can’t believe I saved the other one.”
The victory propels the Blue Devils to their second straight appearance in the state soccer semifinals on Wednesday.
“This was a tough night to play — windy, rainy, … I would say that I thought there would be more goals,” Henry Clay Coach Jason Behler said. “Both teams were super stingy.”
Highlands opened the scoring late in the second half off a free kick off the foot of Porter Hedenberg from about 25 yards that was deflected home by Hank Cook with 11 minutes left.
But Henry Clay quickly answered.
A scrum in the Highlands box saw the ball find the foot of Keandre Sandoval hovering just outside the 6-yard area and he smoothly passed the ball into the corner of the goal to tie it 1-1 with seven minutes left.
“We knew if we just kept the ball in play and kept the flow of the game going that we could create chances,” senior co-captain Charlie Boone said. “When our chance was there, we finished.”
When it went to penalties, each team missed two in the first five takes. Anderson saved one, and one Highlands attempt hit the crossbar. Henry Clay also had a ball saved and another hit the crossbar.
That brought it to a sudden-death one-for-one shot with Henry Clay taking first. Chris Sanders buried his setting up Anderson’s two game-savers.