Just over a minute into the first overtime period Tuesday at the Stadium of Champions, Hopkinsville senior Mason Rye found an opening and he found the back of the net to give Hoptown yet another 8th District Tournament Title in a 5-4 win over University Heights Academy, but a lot of things had to happen for the Tigers to be in that situation.
From the first whistle, UHA came out strong and took the first lead of the game.
After a Tanner Thomas goal gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead, Hoptown's Jose Favela tied it at 1-1 with 25:00 left in the half, but that would be the last goal the Tigers would see for a while.
Will Bryan gave UHA a 2-1 lead then Thomas netted another to give the Blazers a 3-1 lead going into the break.
The Tigers looked stunned on the sideline and that despair would only grow as Thomas scored his third goal of the game early in the second half.
Rye said Hoptown coach Tyler Stallons had a simple message at the break.
"It was extremely positive," he said. "He does a great job of keeping our heads up, letting us know what we're doing wrong but also showing us what we need to do to fix it. One of the main things he said is its effort. They're outworking you and they're winning that ball and we've got to flip the switch. We've got to change it."
Whatever Stallons said at the half must have worked because despite Thomas' early goal, the Blazers wouldn't score another goal.
"I told them at halftime 'UHA thinks they're going to win this,'" Stallons said. "They had every right to. If you think they're going to win it then you probably shouldn't play because I'm going to throw everything I have at it. We made an adjustment. Our goal was to keep it on our half as much as possible so we took one out of the defense."
Hoptown's Tyler Greenwell scored on a penalty then he scored again off of a Welby Horn corner to make it 4-3.
With 9:30 left in the game, Mason Marschand threw a ball in but a Blazer player cleared it right back to him. Marschand unleashed a stunner that got by the UHA keeper and tied the game at 4-4 int he closing minutes.
When the overtime period came, Rye said they wanted to get on the board fast.
"Not the most successful first half so we wanted to carry that momentum into the second half and we did," he said. "We wanted to carry that into the first portion of that overtime. We wanted to put it away early, score as soon as possible."
Rye immediately ran into the arms of Hoptown assistant Zach Bishop after his game-winning goal then went to one knee and pointed at the sky.
Stallons said it was a big turnaround from the first half to the second.
"They had us beat," he said. "We were down and we were out. A switch flipped and we played like we're supposed to. I think both teams are going to make some noise in the region tournament next week."
UHA and Hopkinsville will now head to Henderson County next week for the 2nd Region Tournament.
Hoptown 5, UHA 4
UHA 3 1 (0) --4
HHS 1 3 (1) --5
UHA: Thomas (3 goals), Bryan (goal)
HHS: Rye (goal), Greenwell (2 goals), Favela (goal), Marschand (goal)
Head: All-8th District Boy's Soccer Team
Dylan Edmonson, UHA
Tanner Thomas, UHA
Will Bryan, UHA
Scribby Goode, UHA
Xavier Bussell, HHS
Yeffrey Macario, CCHS
Welby Horn, HHS
Tyler Greenwell, HHS
Mason Rye, HHS
Mason Marschand, HHS
Josh Hermosillo, HHS
CJ Hay, FCHS
Rafael Cerritos, FCHS