By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer
The Wagoner Bulldogs boys soccer team could have settled for a tie with Hilldale after the Hornets scored two goals in the last 11 minutes to erase a two-goal deficit.
Jackson Flinn would hear nothing of the kind.
He pushed a shot past Hilldale goalkeeper Michael Breckon with 41 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 win in District 4A-8 action at Hornet Field on Friday, spoiling Hilldale’s Senior Night.
“I told the guys they could have easily laid down and taken the tie,” said Wagoner coach Brandon Carr. “I also told them ‘you’re up 2-0, you let them come back and tie, don’t let them win 3-2.’ And they played the overtime like they started the second half.”
After a scoreless first half, the Bulldogs (5-5, 1-0 4A-8) got on the first when Flinn snared a rebound off a Decarius Clark shot in the 48th minute for the first goal of the match. Wagoner made the score 2-0 when Clark grabbed a pass from Chris Oriolo and drilled a shot past Breckon in the 58th minute.
“They were playing the offside trap all night long,” Flinn said. “He told us just to adjust to it and see what we could do. So we started playing a little bit further back than we were so we could get behind them and not be offsides.”
In the 68th minute, Clark looked like he was going to make the score 3-0, but Breckon blocked his initial attempt and two rebounds to keep Clark off the scoreboard.
That seemed to energize the Hornets (2-7, 0-2) because one minute later, Chris Ramey cut the deficit to 2-1 by taking a loose ball and driving it into the right corner of the net. Less than six minutes later, Hunter Woods tied the score with a shot into the left-hand corner off a pass from Ramey.
“The guys did a great job of fighting back in the second half,” said Hilldale coach Brent Breckon, Michael’s father. “I told the team they were going to come out in the second half with a little more fire. We won 80-90 percent of the balls but just couldn’t convert.”
In the overtime period, each team had a chance to end the game. Hilldale’s Tristan Taylor missed on a header three minutes into the OT while Flinn went wide right on a wide-open blast.
“Coach told us to keep our heads up and make good runs,” Flinn said. “We started relaxing a little bit, we thought we had it over up 2-0. But we relaxed a little bit too early.”
Girls: Wagoner 3, Hilldale 1
Wagoner’s Becca Tillman was a one-person wrecking crew for the Lady Bulldogs in their win over the Lady Hornets on Friday.
Tillman, who is just getting back into playoff shape after a knee injury forced her to miss last year’s playoff run, registered her first three-goal game in Wagoner’s district opener.
“They’re a great team,” Tillman said. “It feels really great to get my first hat trick against them.”
Her first goal came at the 13:32 mark when she took a pass from Brooklyn Broad and broke free. Her shot sailed behind Hilldale’s Nicole Wright, giving Wagoner (7-3, 1-0) a 1-0 lead. The next one was four minutes later when she intercepted a pass in the middle of the penalty box and sent the shot into the left-hand corner to make the score 2-0.
“She created those three goals,” said Wagoner coach Brandon Carr. “That’s been something we’ve been looking for all season. We’re hoping that will get her back going in the right direction.”
Hilldale (3-7, 1-1) reduced the margin to 2-1 when Caitlynn Morgan headed in a corner kick from Madelin Ownby with 1:34 left in the first half. Tillman closed out the scoring at the 49:09 mark when she got around the Lady Hornets’ defense on the left-hand side and sent a shot into the short side of the net to end the scoring.
“Becca’s first year was last year and she was trying to get in the flow,” Carr said. “The girls have really taken her in and we’re hoping they rally around this.”