HUNTSVILLE | It was tough to find much separation between Scott High and Anderson County in Tuesday's (April 4) key district match at John John Yancey Park.
The Highlanders were the favored team, playing at home, and AC was forced to play most of the game with only 10 players on the field following a first half red card that was assessed for fighting.
Still, the Mavericks managed to tie things up near the end of regulation, and played the Highlanders to two scoreless overtime periods before Scott High finally escaped on penalty kicks, 4-3.
It was a 2-2 game at the end of regulation, with Anderson County scoring in the 79th minute to force the extra session.
Scott High scored first, when Skye Babb connected on a Hugo Henry corner kick. It was Babb's first game back from a knee injury, and the junior made an immediate impact to give the Highlanders the 1-0 lead.
However, AC was able to answer later in the first half, and the game was still knotted up at halftime.
In the 57th minute, Leivance Weatherford scored off an assist by Conner Stanley — the Highlanders' first goal in four games that didn't come off a set piece.
That's the way things stood for nearly 20 minutes, before Anderson County scored with less than two minutes remaining to force overtime.
It was a testy match, with numerous yellow cards awarded by the officials — mostly to AC, though the Highlanders received one, as well. Things got especially heated in the first half, when a Maverick player took a swing at Henry and was ejected.
The two teams played two golden goal — or sudden death — overtime periods, with neither team scoring in the additional 20 minutes. Scott High dominated both possession and shot attempts in OT, but came up just short on a number of solid looks at the goal.
The game went to penalty kicks, with both goalies making exceptional saves to start things off, and both shots sailing wide and high on the second attempts.
After another save by Luke Bowling, Henry connected on his PK to give the Highlanders a 3-2 lead. But AC immediately answered, tying the game at three.
Weatherford was the Highlanders' fourth shooter, and he put his PK in the back of the net for his second goal of the night and a 4-3 lead. Anderson County's last-gasp effort saw the ball sail over the crossbar, giving the Highlanders the district win.
With the win, Scott High continues to control its own destiny for a regular season district championship and home field advantage in the postseason. The Highlanders will play at Clinton on April 14 and at Kingston on April 21, two games that will decide the regular season standings.