Norman North’s Bostyn Carroll was taken down in the penalty box with 7:26 remaining in double overtime and though the tackle was very nearly good, it wasn’t quite, the referee blew the whistle and North coach Kahlil Benalioulhaj went with Carroll himself to take the kick.
He did, going low and right, crossing up U.S. Grant goalkeeper Oscar Barron, who remained on both feet as the Timberwolves began celebrating their 3-2 Class 6A round-of-16 playoff victory.
It was a triumphant ending to a match North very nearly did not win.
From the 22:31 mark of the second half to the 4:14 mark, it was the Generals who led, thanks to a free kick from 32 yards taken by Miguel Talamantes that North keeper Will Sutherlin had absolutely no chance to stop.
Talamantes somehow found a way to sweep the ball right to left, yet still tuck it in the top right near corner of the goal's frame.
Though Sutherlin couldn’t begin to stop that one, he’d already made a big impact on the match, keeping Grant from taking a 1-0 lead 8 minutes before the half, stopping Osiel Macias' penalty kick, guessing right that Macias would go low to his left.
Jonathan Berryhill followed 2 1/2 minutes later, putting North on the board first, heading home the serve of Luke Wheeler.
Yet, just 90 seconds later, off a through ball that left him all alone with Sutherlin, Macias made up for his penalty try failure, tying the match 1-1.
From the moment the Generals took the lead on Talamantes’ tally, the T-Wolves tilted the field for all but about a minute of the rest of regulation.
Finally, after a North corner kick eluded everybody from both teams right in front of the goal mouth, Gabe Angle found himself in control of the ball on the far side of the net and crossed it back in front. Multiple legs took swings at the ball, but it was Braden Shipman who connected, tying the match.
Then came overtime.
Then came double overtime.
The T-Wolves outshot the Generals 11 to 4 and the only five corner kicks in the match belonged to North.
But it wasn't like the T-Wolves won a contest they dominated. They just tended to have the better end of a contest both teams played at a very high level.
In the end, Carroll came through.
Both teams exited the pitch with 10-4 records. Only the T-Wolves get to move on.