Young's overtime goal rockets Chucks into first-ever district final

BROCKWAY — Punxsy head boys' soccer coach Phil Shenkle better nail down the copyright to Monday night's game in Brockway before someone else gets his or her hands on it.

For the third-straight meeting, the Punxsy and St. Marys boys' soccer teams played more than 80 minutes of competitive soccer that led to overtime, but this time, the Chucks were the ones celebrating at midfield.

Punxsy (15-3-1), which was eliminated by the Dutch in last year's District IX Class AA Semifinal due to a shootout defeat, seemed primed to avoid overtime this time by leading 3-1 with a little more than 10 minutes left in regulation. But just as happened during the regular season — when the Chucks blew a 2-0 lead and settled for a 2-2 tie — St. Marys surged back into the game by scoring with 10:13 and 3:37 left to create an extra-time situation.

"It was definitely a little taste of déjà vu in my mind," Shenkle said. "I started to say to my coach, 'Let's start looking at our list of five (for the shootout).'"

But Shenkle and the Chucks didn't even want a second overtime clock of 15 minutes to begin.

"I told the guys, 'When they make the movie of this game, you wouldn't want it any other way. You have to have a little bit of drama. We've definitely provided that. So what do you say we go out and end this stupid thing?'" Shenkle said.

Kody Young, who has been known throughout the Punxsutawney sports community as the best wrestler in town during the past few years, proved Monday night that he's a pretty darn good soccer player, too. He played the hero in Monday's movie-like drama, scoring the game-winning goal with 4:23 left in the first overtime.

Though he's not one of Punxsy's biggest players, Young has one of Punxsy's most powerful legs. He showed it by lacing a hard-hit shot off St. Marys keeper Ryan Ohl just 63 seconds into the game.

As for the game-winner — which gave Punxsy a 4-3 win and pushed the Chucks into the district final at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday versus Bradford at Clarion University — he provided a well-placed strike that Ohl leaped at, but couldn't get a finger on.

"The last shot, I took it off my chest and knew the shot was there, but I had no idea where it was going," Young said. "I know I have the range, but you never know this late in the game where it's going to go."

Shenkle said that Punxsy's video camera died — Monday included cold temperatures that would make one think it's December or January, rather than November — but members of the Chucks and their fan base will have the historic score in their minds for quite a while.

"Kody said not to worry about it, because those aren't kicks you forget," Shenkle said. "Nobody will forget that goal as far as everybody involved."

When Young arrived as a freshman, he was immediately a starter on a Punxsy team that hadn't accomplished much. The Chucks were mired in two- and three-win seasons and contained no identity.

After earning their first winning season and reaching the playoffs for the first time last year, the Chucks entered Monday's game coming off their finest regular season.

Now, they're in the district title game — something that seemed unthinkable two or three years ago.

"It's nice to finally get to the next level," Young said. "I could see it coming, but I never knew for sure if it was going to be there or not. I knew the opportunity would (be there) sooner or later, though."

Young's first goal came just 63 seconds into the game, shocking those in attendance who expected a low-scoring, drag-out affair. But the Dutch (13-4-2) hardly flinched, as Jake Reed scored the first of his three goals off a direct kick with 13:50 remaining in the first half.

Entering the second half, the game was tied at one before junior Tyler Presloid added to his school record by pushing the Chucks ahead 2-1 with 34:45 left in the game.

Sophomore Hunter Tibbs made it 3-1 with 21:27 left, and the Chucks appeared destined to win in regulation. But they may have taken their foot off the pedal a little too much.

"When we put in those two goals, things were looking good, (but then) you started to feel the air come out of the game. I think we got a little bit sleepy again," Shenkle said. "All of sudden, it was like we were practicing. We lost our intensity."

A brilliant cross by Connor Rohrback led to Reed scoring with 10:13 left, and Reed completed the hat trick with 3:37 remaining. That ultimately sent the game into overtime.

The Chucks, however, came back in a dramatic way to win it at the 91st minute.

"This is where we wanted to be, but we have to play better than this," Shenkle said. "That said, I don't feel we played as well as we should have, but St. Marys came out and played a really nice game. We'll take the win any way we can get it."