PROVO With just 60 ticks left on the clock in double overtime of the 3A boys soccer championship game, Park City's assistant coaches and players were asking coach Caro Caro the same thing: Aren't you going to set your five-player lineup for the upcoming shootout?
But Caro wasn't thinking that way. Even with just literally seconds left, he still believed his team was going to score a golden goal that would hand the Miners their sixth 3A title in school history.
"I had that faith in those guys," said Caro. "I knew for some weird reason that even (if it went) until the last 30 seconds that we were going to score."
With just 8.4 seconds displayed on the scoreboard clock at Timpview High, he was proven right.
In the 100th minute and with a shootout literally seconds away Park City won a penalty kick when Michael Glenn was hauled down inside the box. Senior captain Tyler Thomas, with his last kick of prep soccer, converted the ensuring penalty, and the Miners emerged with a 1-0 double-overtime win over Morgan Saturday afternoon.
"Words can't even explain that," said junior forward Austen Stevens, who was named the Deseret News 3A All-Tournament MVP.
For 100 minutes, Park City and Morgan fought in what was a frantic and pulsating encounter. Park City probably had more of the overall play, but Morgan created chances of its own and could've walked away with the 3A championship trophy.
In the end, though, Thomas' penalty kick lifted the Miners to a state title in their first year under Caro.
"That was a huge battle," said Stevens. "After we played Uintah (in the semis), I think we kind of thought we had this game, but they definitely put up a great battle. They're a good team. They put up a lot of fight, but we just came up with it in the end."
Park City had two primary penalty-kick takers this spring Thomas and fellow senior Adam Laufer but because Laufer had been substituted when the penalty happened, the responsibility immediately fell to Thomas.
His penalty kick, which went slightly to the right, was actually meant to go closer to the corner, but it nonetheless slid underneath Morgan star 'keeper John Haws and in.
"I trusted it would go in," said Thomas. "I didn't hit it how I wanted to, but it still went in."
Up until that point, both teams had come achingly close to scoring.
Stevens' phenomenal bicycle-kick attempt from the top of the penalty box in the first half had Haws beat, but it cannoned off the right post. In the 64th minute, Michael Glenn weaved his way down the right side, but his shot was deflected just wide of the post.
Going the other way, Anthony Nelson nearly scored for Morgan in the 74th minute, and the Trojans had other chances.
Morgan coach Fritz Backman expressed how proud he was of his players and was complimentary of Park City. However, he had less positive things to say about the late, late penalty kick decision that led to his side's defeat.
"I definitely disagree with the call," said Backman. It's an unwritten rule amongst referees that (with) a minute left in the game, you don't determine the game."You had two teams that were equal ... and I hate to see it determined by a call with 15 seconds left on the clock. A referee should not determine the outcome of a game that late. And that's what we feel happened."
All tournament team
MVP: Austen Stevens, Park City
Forwards: Brian Johnson, Park City; Kyle Walker, Morgan
Midfielders: Adam Laufer, Park City; Tyler Thomas, Park City; Charlie Brennan, Judge; Curtis Eliason, Delta;
Defenders: Daniel Gurr, Uintah; Tommy Martin, Park City; Patric Jensen, Morgan; Oliver Diamond, Judge
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