Two big finishes gave the Boyle County boys two big wins in a row, and that might be enough to turn their season around.
Just over 24 hours after upsetting a ranked team, the Rebels scored twice in less than 6 minutes Thursday night to defeat Lincoln County 5-4 in overtime at Rebel Stadium.
Ethan Edwards scored with just 31 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game, and Dominic Oliverio punched in the game-winner in sudden death to give Boyle its second straight come-from-behind victory.
The win gave Boyle a significant victory over the team it will play again in less than two weeks in a district tournament elimination game, as well as some much needed momentum at the best possible time.
“We worked really hard and never gave up, and it was awesome, one of our best wins this season,” Boyle midfielder Galen Overstreet said. “I think coming into districts, this is what we need. We haven’t been playing to what our capability is over the season, and we’re doing a lot better now.”
J.T. Stephens scored two goals for Boyle (6-8, 1-2 45th District) and Carl-Lewis Cummins and Royce Cummins scored twice each for Lincoln (10-4, 1-2) in a game that was a prelude to their postseason meeting, which will be played the week of Oct. 8 at Garrard County.
This game had no bearing on that game — the teams were playing for the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds, but they were already locked into their semifinal matchup — but Boyle coach Cris McMann said winning it should do his team some good and let Lincoln know it will be in for a fight when they meet again.
“We got some pride and some confidence. They know that we’re playing them the first game of the district and that it’s going to be a battle,” McMann said. “But they’ve done a great job. Lincoln’s a much more competitive team than they have been in the past.”
Lincoln coach Chaz Garcia said the Patriots don’t intend to take anything from this game toward the rematch.
“Nothing. It’s just another game for us,” Garcia said. “That’s nothing towards them, it’s just another game.”
Boyle lost six of its first eight games but has regrouped to win four of its last six, including a 5-3 road win over No. 18 Kentucky Country Day on Wednesday.
Overstreet, who scored one of the Rebels’ three first-half goals, said things are different than they were early in the season.
“At the beginning of the season, we weren’t even trying. We were just going out there acting like we didn’t want to be here. And now we’re trying our best, giving it everything we’ve got,” he said.
“We showed what we’ve been working for for the past few months,” his brother, midfielder Brenden Overstreet said.
While there was frustration among players and coaches alike just a few weeks ago, coach Cris McMann said he thinks those days are behind the Rebels.
“Things are feeling pretty good right now,” McMann said. “Guys are playing well, we’re moving the ball around well. It’s a good time of the year to be playing well,”
Oliverio’s winning goal came 22 seconds into the second of two 5-minute sudden-death overtime periods — overtime is required in district games where tournament seeding is at stake. Ethan Edwards passed the ball to Oliverio near the left goalpost, and when Oliverio’s first shot bounced back to him, he shot it past Lincoln goalkeeper Ian Blevins for the win.
They were the only two shots in overtime for either team.
“It was a tough loss, but it happens,” Lincoln coach Chaz Garcia said. “It went well for Boyle at the end. It wasn’t anything that we did wrong or anything that they did right.”
It looked as if the Patriots would prevail in the first game between the two teams since 2003 until Edwards’ last-minute goal. Boyle’s James Warriner scooted a right-to-left pass to left to Edwards, who was left open at the left post when Blevins reached unsuccessfully for the ball.
Carl-Lewis Cummins gave Lincoln a 4-3 lead in the 51st minute when he played a ball off a high bounce between two Boyle defenders and shot past goalkeeper Connor Burns for his second goal of the night, and the Patriots kept the ball out of their end of the field for most of the second half despite playing a man down.
Defender Boone Baird had been ejected in the 38th minute — he’ll also sit out the rematch with the Rebels to complete a mandatory a two-game suspension — but Lincoln outshot Boyle 9-5 in the second half and 11-8 overall while shorthanded after Boyle held a 9-6 edge in shots before Baird’s ejection.
“You couldn’t tell that they were a man down, that’s for sure. They kept getting scoring chances and making it difficult for us,” McMann said. “It’s frustrating, to be honest, to know that they’re playing a man down and we can’t do what we want to do.”
Garcia said the Patriots should have capitalized on some of the scoring opportunities they had, but he said they played well on the whole.
“The boys did awesome a man down, 10 men on the field for 75 percent of the game,” he said.
Boyle took a 3-2 lead when Stephens scored on a penalty kick after Baird, who drew the first of four yellow cards in the game, was red-carded for fouling the Rebels’ Evan McMann inside the 18-yard box. But Lincoln’s Carl-Lewis Cummins tied the game 8 seconds before halftime, scoring off a long throw-in by Josh Gooch.
The Rebels led 2-0 after goals by Stephens in the 16th minute and Overstreet in the 20th, but the Patriots rallied to tie the game on goals by Royce Cummins in the 32nd and 37th minutes.
Burns had eight saves for Boyle; Blevins had five for Lincoln.