A great save with 20 seconds left preserved the victory for Signal Mountain and gave Central Magnet its first loss of the season in the Region 4-A/AA championship match Thursday.
Central’s Zavior Phillips had a shot on goal off a header, but Signal Mountain’s Adam Pickett made a diving save, and the Tigers fell 3-2 to the Eagles.
“It was crazy,” said Phillips. “We were just trying to push it forward, and trying to get what we could, and Christian (Hortert) played a perfect ball over the top.
“I tried to go to the back post. It was a great save by the keeper. I’m just sorry it couldn’t go in.”
The Eagles (16-0-2) will play at home in the state sectional Saturday. Central (14-1-2) will play at Boyd-Buchanan.
It was the most goals scored against the Tigers in a match all season. Central had only allowed seven goals all season to Class A/AA competition, 11 overall this season.
The Eagles started the scoring with a penalty kick 35 minutes into the first half. Josh Patta drilled a shot past Central goalkeeper Kris Dobson into the top corner of the net. That was the only score in the first half.
The Tigers tied it up 46 minutes into the match when Phillips scored a goal on a rebound following a corner kick.
Connor Althorp dribbled downfield and attempted a shot which Dobson kicked away. Althorp rebounded the miss and kicked it in from the side of the goal, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead 62 minutes in.
Robert Schorr scored from the exact same place with six minutes left, and Signal Mountain had a 3-1 lead.
The Tigers battled back and Ben Meyer was knocked down in the box. He made his penalty kick count and the Tigers were down 3-2 with 3:48 left.
The last shot attempt by Phillips was saved in the final seconds.
“I think they’re the best team we’ve played,” Signal Mountain coach Richard Northcutt said. “We’re fortunate to get out with a win. They’re a bunch of fighters. They had a couple of guys – I don’t know their names – but they were very tricky. They chopped through us. They beat four or five guys in a row.
“Unfortunately, somebody has to lose. We both still live to fight another day.”