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Senior Hunter Durham got Kickapoo on the scoreboard just minutes into the game. Fellow senior Palmer Harrison sent a pass cross-field to a sprinting Durham where he easily gained control after a miscommunication between Glendale’s defensive line and goalie. Though Durham couldn’t get a great touch on the ball, he got enough to get the ball past a diving goalie and into the goal.
“It’s always good to get that fast and strong start and to also put the pressure on them early,” Durham said.
Down 1-0 early was not a position the Falcons wanted to be in. The Chiefs’ goal inspired many of the Glendale players who knew a loss would result in the end of their season. The Falcons had their chances offensively in the first half to match Durham’s goal. In a matter of just three minutes, Glendale had three shots on goal. However, Kickapoo’s senior goalie Jesse Wentz stopped every shot Glendale attempted in the first half.
Kickapoo had its chances to add to the lead in the first half, but missed shots and many offside calls stalled the Chiefs’ offensive game. Though the Chiefs couldn’t extend their lead, their defense is what kept them ahead 1-0 at halftime.
“After getting the one goal lead, we got a little too direct and unsettled; fortunately we held on to the lead through half,” Kickapoo head coach Phil Hodge said.
Just four minutes into the second half, Glendale made an aggressive move with their offense that resulted in a Falcon goal. After earning a free kick, Glendale sent a beautiful shot into the box that hit off of the crossbar, off of Wentz’s hands and eventually into the back of the net after the ball ricocheted off of a Glendale player who managed to sneak their way behind the Kickapoo defense.
In just a matter of minutes, Glendale had gained the confidence needed to pull off another stunning playoff win over the Chiefs.
“We came out flat,” Hodge said. “We talked at half how the first goal would be huge for either team and unfortunately they got the goal.”
In a game where it is impossible to take the time to look back at mistakes and the only time that can be taken must be used to focus on moving forward, Kickapoo was put in the situation to test how they would respond to the Falcons’ game-tying goal.
“I think a lot of us realized this could be it if we lost this game and we didn’t want that,” Durham said.
Three minutes after Glendale’s score, Kickapoo senior Aaron Strunk put home a header to give his team the lead back. Senior Josh McCutcheon played a perfect pass from the left side of the field to the center of the box, the exact spot Strunk was making his run to. Now holding a 2-1 lead, Kickapoo had gained the confidence they had seemingly lost coming out of the half.
Kickapoo was able to keep the momentum for the remainder of the game, scoring two more times before the final buzzer. Durham added another goal to his stats in the 59th minute with the assist on the play coming yet again from McCutcheon. Then to seal the game, senior McKinley “Mac” Hoogeveen scored off of an assist from junior Austin Reinold in the 67th minute.
“This is where I’ve wanted to be since freshman year so it feels good to be here and win,” Wentz said.
With the game in hand, the Chiefs focused on their defense to ensure that Glendale would not add to their score total. However, Kickapoo got a bit off a scare in the 69th minute when goalie Jesse Wentz accidently got kicked in the head by a Glendale player attempting to make a play on the ball. Thankfully for the Chiefs, Wentz did not have to leave the game and appears to be fine with no ill-symptoms.
Now 22-3, Kickapoo will face the winner of the Rock Bridge on Saturday.