U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis has seen its share of wild finishes this year, what with the Minnesota Miracle pass from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs in January and the Eagles’ Super Bowl XLII win over the Patriots in February.
Now, the shiny new venue has quite the futbol highlight to add to stadium lore. Friday’s Minnesota Class A soccer championship game between The Blake School (Minneapolis) and Bemidji (MInn.) High School was scoreless through 80 minutes of regulation and 10 minutes of overtime.
To start the second OT, Blake sophomore Keegan James elected to boot the ball from centerfield, almost like a football kickoff.
And oh, did it ever work.
You can see James’ ball sail to the top right corner of the net, out of the reach of Bemidji goalkeeper Joe Fletcher.
The players’ reaction was as one would expect, given the play, the circumstances and the stakes.
“It was a feeling like no other,” James told the Bemidji Pioneer. “I was just happy. I was very tired at this point. Honestly, going 10 more minutes would’ve been very, very tough for my body, but I’m just happy we got it done.”
Per the Pioneer, the idea for the long shot came from teammate and senior captain Jake Lundberg, who said he had asked the referee if the play was legal.
“He’s like, ‘Why,’ and I was like, ‘Because we’re going to do that,’” Lundberg said. “And he goes, ‘All right,’ and winks at me. I know Keegan. He has a good shot that I knew would be able to get up and over, so I looked at Keegan and I’m like, ‘You’re shooting it off the kickoff.’ ”
From the middle of the Viking profile at midfield to the back of the net. Just how James, Lundberg and the Blake Bears drew it up. And they have a state title to show for it.