Tom Smart, Deseret News
OREM — Matt Gay, a senior captain for the Orem High soccer team, gave the Tigers two options prior to taking the field for overtime against the Bountiful Braves.
They could run hard for five more minutes or they could gut it out and go to penalty kicks.
"I asked them which they wanted," head coach Ed Louder said. "They wanted the five minutes."
Just over that allotted time, the Tigers punched their ticket to the second round of the 4A state playoffs.
Orem's Jake Thompson, the speedy game-clinching hero, heard the Bountiful keeper instructing his teammate to head the ball back to him as it was sailing into the box.
Thompson made a move to get there first.
"I felt it hit me, hit my foot, and I looked down and it was right there," he said excitedly. "That was it."
The junior forward found himself behind the keeper with a wide-open net. Christian Clark, a towering senior defender, earned the assist as he sent the ball downfield with a "huge header."
"He has been big for us in the midfield all year," Louder said of the assist. "He put it far enough that Jake could make a good run."
The Braves put up a more than valiant fight in the loss; dictating the tempo early on and taking the 1-0 lead midway through the first half.
Bountiful's Richard Haddock was fouled just outside the 18-yard box, and Dain Murdock sent the free kick pinging off the top left corner into the net. The half ended there despite several quality attempts from Gay and the Tigers' front line.
The second half resembled the first for several minutes and the Tigers' passion seemed to be lacking.
Just when a Bountiful victory seemed likely, the Tigers rallied.
They began to possess and work the ball around before tying things up in the 63rd minute. Jonny Bradshaw took a couple of touches, bringing the ball to the right side and firing it in from long range.
Fortunately for the Tigers, the shot deflected off someone's back, misdirecting and catching the corner to equalize, 1-1.
"That first goal gave us confidence that we could play with them," Louder said. "They are a great team."
Louder commended the efforts of several Tigers in the rally, including Luis Rubio, who subbed into the game and helped settle the midfield. Rubio worked the ball around with Daniel Corbett and Tony Pesquiera.
"That really made the difference in the game," he said. "They helped us settle into our game."
Bountiful, the No. 3 seed from Region 6, finished with a 7-8-3 overall record.
With the win, Orem advances to the second round where they will take on Roy on Friday.
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