The high school boys soccer team in Eufaula, Alabama swept the Alabama Christian Academy (ACA) and reached a spot in quarterfinals of the Class 4A/5A State Soccer Tournament.
The Dothan Eagle reports the Eufaula High School Tigers (14-4-0) defeated the ACA (4-6-2) on April 28th 4-3 after penalty kicks and double overtime. Played on the Tuesday night at the Eufaula “Tiger” Stadium, the game was part of the second round of the state championships.
The Tigers won in a 6-5 shootout, making the game as close to the wire as possible. The team will advance to the quarterfinals to face St. Paul’s Episcopal School (16-4-4) in Mobile, hoping to beat them and make it to the “Final Four” on May 7th-9th in Huntsville.
Tempers flared and one player was ejected during the close match. The first goal occurred at the 25-minute mark after a deluge of shots from star ACA forward J.J. Williams and the rest of the offensive line. Eufaula’s four defensemen and senior goalie Jalin Lawson managed to keep them at bay for the first half of the first half. Eufaula’s junior midfielder Travis Byfield was fouled inside the penalty box and scored the first goal of the game during a penalty kick.
The game was tied 1-1 at intermission after Williams scored a power shot 12 yards out just one minute before the half.
During the second half, Eufaula’s team captains Chase Haney and Thomas Espy, both seniors, switched roles as defensemen as three midfielders played offense. Williams scored again in the 60-minute mark to give his team a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately for the teams, however, rain showers appeared soon after, making the field wet and more difficult to play.
Eufaual right fielder Bobby Phillips tied the game with a left-footed chip to tie, only to go back to ACA’s favor when Williams scored his third goal of the night at 67-minute mark.
Both teams were becoming relentless in their pursuit of clenching victory. Eufaula’s Cody Rosen scored the tying goal four minutes before the end of regulation time.
Two sudden-death overtimes saw no goals as fans for each team braved the elements and cheered the players on. The game went to the penalty kick phase. Notably, ACA used Williams as its goalkeeper. The first five penalty kicks resulted in a tie, forcing the game to go into pair penalty kicks. The first two shots went in. In the other two, Eufaula defender Alex Welsh made his shot but ACA did not, ending the game 4-3 after a 6-5 shootout.
Soccer is an exceedingly popular high school sport. In 2013, more than 7.7 million high school students played on at least one high schools sports team, with approximately 280,000 boys and 209,000 girls playing soccer.