By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
The 44th District Tournament semifinal showdown between Madison Southern and Madison Central couldn’t be decided in regulation.
But, that’s the kind of battle both teams expected.
“They are a good team,” Southern coach James Ray said of Central. “They have very good players. Their seniors have a never-say-die attitude. I knew they were going to come out and play hard.”
Central scored early and led for most of the game, but the Eagles got a goal from Lucas Reynolds just 2:20 into overtime to lift them to a 3-2 win Tuesday at Madison Central High School.
Southern advances to the district final to take on Model, which rolled past Berea Community in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
The championship game is set for 8 p.m. Thursday at Central. Both Model and Southern advance to next week’s 11th Region Tournament.
“They came out and got after us, but I’m proud of my guys because they stepped up and did what they needed to do to get a win,” Southern coach James Ray said.
Two minutes into the game, Central took the lead when Austin McAlister found the net after a corner kick by Evan Roberts.
That lead held up until Southern’s Aaron Sipple redirected a pass in front that slipped past Central keeper Levi Knutson with just more than 20 minutes left in the second half. The Eagles went in front when Tanner Kidwell knocked in a header off a corner from Jackson Lainhart with 10:10 left in regulation.
Central went down a man after Brent Walls was assessed a second yellow card. Still, the Indians tied the game and forced overtime when Daniel Parke scored on a direct kick with 5:32 left.
Southern quickly regrouped in the extra period.
“That’s something we’ve talked about all year,” Ray said of staying focused. “Don’t worry about this. Don’t worry about that. Just focus on what we can control and that’s the next play.”
In the overtime, Tyler Gipson took a throw in and after the ball bounced in front, Reynolds got off the game-winning shot.
Model and Southern played once during the regular season, with the Patriots picking up a 4-0 win Aug. 23 in Richmond.
Model 10, Berea 0
The Patriots rolled into the district finals with a mercy-rule 10-0 victory over Berea Community Tuesday in Berea.
Noah Valencia and Ephraim Otieno had two goals each for Model, the defending district champions.
Valencia scored in the opening minute on an assist from John Reisig. In the fourth minute, Taylor Gentry scored on an assist from Andrew Wylie. Valencia found the net again in the ninth minute, followed by goals from Reisig (10th minute), Ray White (11th minute) and Levi Agee (12th minute). Otieno scored in the 27th and 29th minutes and Wylie gave Model a 9-0 lead at the half with a goal three minutes before the end of the first half.
The game ended when Brandon Gentry scored on a penalty kick in the 56th minute.