New #1 - Starr's Mill wins soccer title
And you thought it was a rivalry before.
The Starr’s Mill boys captured their first state title since 2000 with a 4-2 win in penalty kicks on McIntosh’s home turf, after 80 minutes of scoreless play in regulation and two five minute overtimes that left the teams knotted at 0-0.
But even that wasn’t without controversy or drama. With 37.2 seconds left in the first overtime period, McIntosh was awarded an indirect kick. The ball found its way into the back of the net. It was called a goal and the McIntosh stands erupted in cheers. Seconds later, the roar was a collection of boos as the referee stated that the ball did not touch anyone on its way into the goal and therefore did not count.
“We’re disappointed, having a goal counted and then having it taken away,” said McIntosh head coach Bunky Colvin after the game. “The official says the ball wasn’t touched but it changed direction. Our frustration is not with Starr’s Mill but with the call. We just have to live with that.”
After five more minutes of scoreless play, the two teams went to penalty kicks, where Starr’s Mill got two big stops from goalkeeper Matt Hubbard, one a kick save where his body was going in the opposite direction and one a diving save to the left. Connecting on kicks for Starr’s Mill were Derek Williams, Preston Gayton, Kevin O’Connor and Justin Ross.
“That’s the second time this season where we’ve had PK’s go to the final kick and Ross has kicked the winner,” said a beaming Mike Hanie, head coach of the Panthers and 2010 AAAA coach of the year, after the game.
Starr’s Mill had played three straight overtime games in the playoffs and they appeared unflappable, especially as the game went into a shootout.
“I’m so proud of these guys. They laid it all on the line tonight,” said Hanie, adding praise for his goalkeeper. “He had a great game, stopping crosses and that first save on the first kick was huge.”
The crowd at McIntosh, which had to be the biggest in school history for a sporting event, got their money’s worth. The game was filled with plenty to cheer for on both sides, clean, physical play and good sportsmanship at the end. Starr’s Mill, ranked second entering the game, has taken McIntosh’s number one ranking in Class AAAA and bragging rights and fans of the Chiefs will chew on what could have been until the two teams face off again next spring.