WOODS CROSS The killer moment finally came after 78 minutes of the 4A boys soccer championship game on Thursday.
On a late corner kick, the ball dropped to the feet of Bountiful's Michael Hodgen. The attacking midfielder swept the ball home to give the Braves a 1-0 win over Mountain View.
Bountiful had pushed and pressured the entire game against a Bruins defense that does not easily concede. It finally took a pair of fortuitous bounces off the woodwork to earn its eighth championship in school history.
In the 68th minute, Mountain View's Jake Parkinson stood 12 yards out from the goal with an empty net in front of him, but somehow his shot hit the inside of the post and bounced out. Ten minutes later, Bountiful's corner kick was knocked off the cross bar, but the ball deflected to Hodgen, who needed only one touch to put the ball inside the near post.
"As it was coming down I just took a second," said Hodgen. "It seemed like everything slowed down and I just put it by the goalie. That's how it went down."
Both teams were able to do what they wanted in the game. Bountiful pressed forward and had a lot of possession in the attacking third. Mountain View was able to stay organized on defense and pick its spots going forward out of the midfield.
"We got our chances, and we didn't quite do it," said Mountain View coach Mark Graham. "They don't count if they don't go in."
Braves coach Lou Plank hoped his team would contain the Bruins' possession and eventually force a goal with its pressure. It took a while, but the plan worked.
"Mountain View does not allow a lot of goals," said Plank. "We decided we'd go heavy and try to pressure this defense to the point they'd break."
Bountiful thought it should have scored in the first half. Twice in the first 40 minutes Tyson Field intercepted some weak clearances on the edge of the area but sent his shot high. Jim Allred got free on a corner kick but headed the ball wide.
All of the Braves' pressure had yielded nothing when Mountain View started to get a foothold in the final 30 minutes. But Parkinson's open look was the best chance the Bruins got, and Bountiful made them pay for missing it.
"You expected the intensity to rise," said Plank. "We were anticipating that and hoped we could deal with that kind of pressure."
The game winner was simple execution. Michael Knight dropped the ball perfectly to Joe Lake. Lake's header hit the bar, but Hodgen was in the right position to become the hero.
"We score from dead ball situations," said Plank. "That ball was a set piece that we called in. It dropped right in the target zone."