PROVO As St. Joseph High School's players and coaches were congratulating themselves on the sideline at Timpview High following their pulsating 3-2 come-from-behind win over South Summit, one St. Joseph parent yelled toward the relieved group, "Next time do it sooner."
You're not kidding.
Many had expected heavily-favored St. Joseph, the Region 14 champion, to roll past four-win South Summit when the two met in the 2A semifinals on Friday, but South Summit had other ideas.
The Wildcats stunned St. Joseph with an early goal in the ninth minute, and they left St. Joseph gasping for air when they added a second goal midway through the second half.
However, the Jayhawks sprung to life just in time.
Brandon Voet and Oliver DelCarlo scored within four minutes of each other to level the score, and star midfielder Ben Cilwick netted the game-winner in the 79th minute to save St. Joseph.
South Summit did upset St. Joseph early in the season when St. Joseph was dealing with a rash of injuries, but the Jayhawks beat South Summit 5-0 later in the season and were big favorites on Friday.
In the end, it took some late-game heroics to overcome South Summit's fantastic overall effort.
"Neither I nor the boys expected to have this hard of a game," said St. Joseph coach Derek Tate. "I'm just proud they came back and found a way to win when they're not doing things well. ... Scary that they can play 30 minutes of sound-asleep soccer and get buried 2-0 (but) still find a way to come back and win. I'm amazed."
When St. Joseph fell behind 2-0 in the 51st minute, things were indeed starting to look bleak.
However, two players in particular helped get St. Joseph back into the game Cilwick and freshman Dino Soto. Both players kept their composure in the intense environment and did hugely important things to get St. Joseph back into the game.
Soto's through ball led to Voet's goal in the 59th minute, and DelCarlo equalized four minutes later.
"He really just controls it for us," Cilwick said of Soto. "He's really good at just stopping the ball and calming us down."
And then there was Cilwick, who also kept his composure and popped up with the game-winner inside the final two minutes.
"Big-shot Ben," said Tate.
James Page and Arthur Wilson each scored once for South Summit, which showed it was for real on the big stage. The Wildcats won only two games during the regular season but came up with the goods to knock off higher-seeded teams en route to a semifinal appearance. And they nearly continued their magical postseason run, had it not been for St. Joseph's late push.