For 80 minutes Tuesday, Stephenville and Abilene Wylie waged to a rather mundane 0-0 tie.
But the last 10 minutes were loaded with action as Wylie scored on a penalty kick and Stephenville evened the tally on a shot that was mishandled by the Bulldog keeper.
Wylie went on to break the 1-1 tie with a 3-1 shootout win. The Bulldogs were leading the shootout 2-1 and Stephenville had senior standout Blake Barnes on deck, but Wylie scored on its fourth kick to seize the victory.
“Both teams knew what was on the line as we were going for second place,” said Stephenville head coach Ramsay Wright. “The winner definitely has the inside track to finish alone in second.”
Wright said this knowledge seemed to leave both teams playing tight for the majority of the game.
“We were both a little tentative,” he said. “We probably helped each other out defensively because we were both very cautious with the ball.”
That all went to the wind the last 10 minutes.
“For some reason, after they scored we just seemed to relax and cut loose,” Wright said.
Stephenville’s goal was set up by Daniel Taylor when he fired a cross to Ishmael Rodriguez in front of the goal. It appeared the Bulldog keeper was going to make a game-winning save, but he couldn’t handle the ball and it made its way into the net.
Stephenville could still tie for second with a win and a Wylie loss in each team’s finale, but the Bulldogs hold the tiebreaker and will be 7-4A’s second seed behind league champ Lake View when the post season begins.
The Yellow Jackets entertain Lake View in Friday’s 2 p.m. finale following a noon JV match, both at Lem Brock Field.
Stephenville knows it will face the winner of Friday’s match between Amarillo Palo Duro and Amarillo Caprock in the opening round of the 4A playoffs.