Corinth Holders and Wilson Hunt weren’t trying to turn back the clock Saturday night in their second round meeting in the NCHSAA 3A playoffs.
But it seemed as if the game would last into the wee hours of Sunday morning.
The contest didn’t last that long, thankfully, but the 2013 season’s clock stopped for the Pirates when Hunt’s Juan Anguiano sent a shot off the left post and into the net for a 1-0 Warriors victory.
That goal, which came in the 109th minute of play – or 1:26 left in the second five-minute “golden goal”sudden-death period.
It propelled the Warriors, seeded sixth in the tournament and the champion of the Big East Conference, into a third round meeting next week with third-seeded West Carteret. It ended the 11th-seeded and stunned Pirates’ season.
Corinth Holders, who entered as the Two Rivers Conference runner-up and had not lost to the Warriors in two previous meetings this year, finished the season with a 16-5-1 mark.
Anguiano scored on a counter off a throw-in by the Pirates at the Warriors’ end of the field, taking a through ball at midfield and racing up the left sideline.
Anguiano raced by pair of defenders and charged toward the goal, firing a shot that clipped the inside of the left post and slipped into the net past goalkeeper Christian Green.
“We (Warriors) weren’t looking forward to going to penalty kicks,” Anguiano said. “You can look at my teammates on the bench. They are cramping up and worn out.”
Had neither team scored in the second golden-goal period, the match would have been decided on penalty kicks.
“It was the second round of the playoffs and we were playing a conference champion,” a subdued Pirates coach Brent Walston said. “Hunt had a great game plan, and we knew Juan was their target guy.
“Hats off to him – tremendous effort to put the goal in when he had to.”
Both teams had their chances to win – in regulation, two 10-minute overtimes and two sudden-death (golden goal) overtimes – before Anguiano blasted in the winner.
But neither could capitalize on their minute number of opportunities.
Both teams blasted shots off the crossbar – Hunt’s Guillermo Cortez struck the bar with a blast late in the first half, and Grant Austin did the same for the Pirates early in the second half.
Corinth Holders, which had beaten the Warriors 4-1 on Sept. 4 and battled them to a 1-1 tie eight days later, just couldn’t get the shots they wanted most – those in front of the Warriors net, despite a 13-6 advantage.
Two early opportunities by the Pirates by Zach Blinson and Austin, raced harmlessly past the right and left posts in the first 10 minutes.
In the final 30 seconds of regulation, a cross through the goal crease by the Pirates rolled harmlessly to the far side of the field.
“Hunt’s defense played well against us,” Walston said. “And (Warriors goalkeeper) Andrew Sorrell had a great game. We didn’t test him as many as we would have liked to.
“We had opportunities, not good scoring chances directly in front of the goal. We had opportunities but played them wide, but I was very proud of our effort.”