Four overtimes weren’t enough to settle the ties between Mount Airy and East Surry.
The Granite Bears clinched the first seed for the Northwest Conference with a dramatic last-gasp penalty kick from Felipe Chavez Wednesday afternoon.
Both the Bears and Cardinals defeated every other team in league play. Against each other, the two schools tied 3-3 and 4-4 in two matches that went to two overtimes.
Mount Airy head coach Will Hurley said he was talking about the ties to East Surry head coach Bill Hart.
Hurley said he didn’t like the idea of playoff seeding coming down to something as random as flipping a coin or drawing a number out of a hat. He said Hart suggested holding a penalty-kick shootout to determine who is the top seed for the 1A state playoffs starting next week.
“Wow,” Hurley said in response to the shootout Wednesday evening.
This wasn’t even an event on the school schedule, but turnout was great, and the fans were really into it, he said.
This is the way that every tie should be finished in conference play, he added. It gives the players a chance to decide matters rather than luck.
Hurley and Hart had to write down 10 players apiece who would each get one kick on goal.
East Surry went first, and the teams alternated kicks.
East Surry had keeper Marco Gomez in the net, but Mount Airy’s Scott Kunkel was injured in the last match.
Scott probably has a hairline fracture of his wrist, but his arm was so swollen that x-rays were inconclusive, said Hurley.
Coming to the rescue was Captain Carlos, Hurley’s nickname for senior co-captain Carlos Carrillo, who volunteered to play keeper.
“Carlos was just so determined to go out there and be successful,” he said. The player told the coach that the last time he played goalie was back in the youth league at Reeves Community Center.
East Surry’s Antonio Mata Jr. opened the shootout by edging a ball past Carrillo into the left corner.
Mount Airy’s Mitchell Brown answered.
East’s Cole Casstevens scored, then Sam Watson answered.
Carrillo got the first stop of the night against East’s Souli Boutis, then East’s Ethan Atkins beat Carrillo, but the ball bounced back off the post.
Meanwhile Hunter Clawson and Frederico Machado gave Mount Airy a 4-2 lead.
Then Gomez made three straight stops against Cristian Cabrera, Chandler Synder and John Hardy.
In the same stretch, Carrillo stopped Tyler Covington, but East’s Austin Haymore and Brayan Gomez tied it up 4-4.
Brody Gentry gave East a 5-4 lead, but Jose Perez answered for the Bears.
East’s Ben Martin scored for a 6-5 lead, then Mount Airy’s Gentry Williamson had a ball bounce off the side post.
That put Mount Airy behind by one with only one kick left.
East’s Cole Hornaday missed a shot just wide right, and Carrillo scored himself to tie it 6-6 after 10 tries.
The teams had another chance to break the tie with keeper Gomez going against Mount Airy’s leading scorer on the season, Felipe Chavez.
Hurley said he knew it was a gamble to hold back Felipe like that, but he was thinking about how a relay team puts its best runner as the “anchor” leg and wanted Felipe as his anchor.
“I could have eaten those words,” said Hurley, but the 6-6 tie played into his hands.
Carrillo stopped Gomez, then Chavez beat Gomez to give Mount Airy the 7-6 win.
The teams will find out on Monday what the matchups will be for the 1A state playoffs that begin on Wednesday.
In late action Tuesday, East Surry wrapped up an undefeated league season with a 5-0 win over Atkins in Winston-Salem.
That win lifted the Cards into a tie with Mount Airy at 6-0-2.
The Cards (12-5-3) went 7-5-1 in nonconference play, then stepped it up in league action. Mount Airy hasn’t lost a game this season, going 11-0 in nonconference games, 17-0-2 on the year.
Last Thursday the two teams tied 4-4 on East’s Senior Night.
The Cards have five seniors this season, including team captains Caleb Mann and John Marion. The other seniors are Ethan Atkins, Jimmy Speer and Marco Gomez.
Atkins had a big part in Tuesday’s win at Atkins High with a goal and two assists.
In the first half, Atkins sent a corner kick bending toward the goal.
The ball hit the back post and ricocheted into the net, according to assistant coach Andrew Jones.
Then Atkins fed Brody Gentry for a goal and a 2-0 lead at the break.
In the second half, Gentry would score twice more for the hat trick.
One goal came off an assist from Atkins, and the other ball came from Antonio Mata.
Cole Casstevens also had a score off a corner kick, said Jones. Cole curved a ball toward the goal, and the keeper misplayed it, he said.
Jones said he and head coach Bill Hart are very pleased to finish off the season undefeated in conference.