PARKERSBURG - Scoring two goals in the final four minutes, host Parkersburg High earned a stunning 3-3 boys soccer tie with Charleston Catholic, the No. 1 team in the state, Tuesday night at Stadium Field.
Trailing 3-1, the Big Reds' Garrett Kruger rifled a skimmer on the ground into the goal with 3:59 to play to narrow the gap to 3-2.
Then with just 55.5 seconds remaining, Tyler Broadwater headed in a free kick from the side by Nick Payne to knot the count at 3-3, and that's where it ended.
Parkersburg's Garrett Kruger kicks the ball away from Charleston Catholic's Sam Revercomb. Parkersburg tied Charleston Catholic, 3-3. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
''That was exciting; I'm not going to sleep tonight,'' said veteran PHS head coach Don Fosselman after the stirring late comeback. ''Our kids never quit. I love this team.''
The seventh-ranked Big Reds, now 13-3-3, finish out their regular season at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hurricane before hosting the sectional tournament starting Monday with the semifinals.
The visiting Irish, now 17-0-2, tallied three straight goals to build a 3-1 lead with 21:25 to play.
PHS, though, did score first with Evan Rhodes feeding Payne for a goal 10 minutes into the game. But that was to the only PHS goal until Kruger's score. In between, however, Charleston Catholic did net three goals, two before the first half ended for a 2-1 lead at halftime, then another to go up 3-1.
''Oh what a comebsck,'' exclaimed Fosselman. ''That was a great game. I know we didn't win, but it was a good tie. We fought to end - to the final minute.''
Fosselman noted too that ''this was a great measuring stick for us with sectionals starting Monday.''
PHS, as the highest sectional seed, will host the tournament as long as the Big Reds are in it. The other three sectional entrants are Parkersburg South, Brooke and Morgantown.