William Chrisman was giving No. 1 seed Blue Springs South all it could handle and then some.
The Bears overcame a 3-1 deficit to tie the game late in the second half, forcing overtime.
To avoid the upset, the Jaguars desperately needed a goal. So who was going to step up?
A defender, of course.
But it wasn’t any defender. It was the heart and soul of the South defense – Brett Vaughn. He took a corner kick and teammate Zion Trober sent a header back toward him on the left side of the penalty box. Vaughn then drilled an impressive shot inside the far post to edge Chrisman 4-3 in the Class 4 District 14 semifinal.
South advanced to the district championship and will play Fort Osage for the title at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The shot was so good, South head coach Jon Grice lobbied a some high praise toward Vaughn in the form of a joke.
“That was a heck of a shot,” Grice told Vaughn. “If I would have made a shot like that in my career, I would have retired right after that.”
The junior defender was at a loss of words when asked about the goal.
“It was just the luck of the draw I guess,” Vaughn said. “I don’t know how to explain it. It was in the heat of the moment. Guys were running at me. The best thing to do was put it back across the box and hope someone is there to put it in.”
South aided its cause with a pair of early goals in the first half. Bryce Millican flew in from the right wing, chasing down a centering pass from John Hurley and scored a point-blank goal. He also set up Nick Landon’s goal by punching a shot off the chest of Chrisman goalkeeper Brandon Kuhlman and his senior teammate put in the rebound.
Chrisman’s Tom Beem also scored on a rebound near the back of the penalty box in the 18th minute to make it 2-1 at halftime.
A goal from Dylan Shuker made it 3-1 early in the second half, but the Bears bounced back when Zane Brende scored and Marco Sagastume converted a penalty kick to tie it with a little more than 6 minutes left.
“We have a lot to fix based on tonight,” Grice said. “We want away from the game plan really early and it translated into a game that went into overtime. We have to do a better job executing the game plan.”
Chrisman coach John Straub noted that although it was a loss, he was pleased with how his team played.
“This was probably our best game all season,” Straub said. “We were proud of how the boys performed. Blue Springs South just made an incredible shot. If you’re going to get beat, it’s OK to get beat on a shot like that.”
FORT OSAGE 3, BLUE SPRINGS 0: Any opposing team playing against the Indians usually focus on stopping Jake Lammering, Fort Osage’s leading goal scorer.
Even when that happens, Lammering still finds a way to score. He did twice against Blue Springs to help his team advance to the Class 4 District 14 championship game.
Lammering received a lob pass from Noah Smith, and he got behind the defense as he drilled it under the crossbar in the 14th minute. He later scored on a penalty kick to give his team a comfortable 3-0 lead in the 22nd minute.
“After the ball was played it was easy for me because I had a one-on-one with the keeper,” Lammering said. “That was really a great ball from Noah.”
Fort Osage got its first goal from Dylan Stillwell put in a rebound off a Lammering shot stopped by Wildcats goalkeeper Jacob Williams.
“When you get up two goals on a team like this, they have to change their game plan in a hurry,” Fort Osage coach Michael Brown said of Blue Springs. “We had three good, quick goals and had them on the back foot after that.”
Although Blue Springs (0-20) outshot Fort Osage 18-10, it wasn’t able to pick up that elusive first win of the season.
“We came out really flat even though we prepared really well for this game,” Wildcats coach Michael Palermo said. “We put everything into this game and we gave up three early ones. Our guys fought and we played well in the second half.
“It’s tough to only have one win in two years. It’s very difficult. We are going to try to change our schedule next year and play teams from smaller conferences, teams on our level.”