ATHENS — Athens held off rival East Limestone for a 3-2 overtime victory Saturday afternoon and advanced to the state tournament in Huntsville. Athens led for most of the game after Wynn Baker gave Athens the lead in the first half.
For 236 minutes, East could find no answer for Athens organized defense. Athens shutout their rivals in their previous two meetings this season.Somehow, the Indians scored two goals in the final four minutes to send the game into overtime. Mitchell Mathis got East on the board with just over four minutes to play. After Dilan Sayer's shot was blocked, the ball fell to Mathis who put a low shot into the near post goal.
Two minutes later, Chris Gregory tied the score for Athens. East Limestone goalie Wesley Swaim had just made a point-blank save on the line that sent the ball spinning across the goal line. Gregory took advantage by tapping it in the open net.
Just when Athens thought it had won once again, East earned a penalty kick which Dilan Sayer cooly converted with a low shot right down the middle of goal.
After two scoreless overtime periods, the teams went to kicks from the spot. The final kick fell to Athens' Jose Soto who place the ball into the upper right corner for the winning goal.
Athens advanced to play Briarwood in the semifinals at 3:45 p.m. Friday from John Hunt Park in Huntsville.
Check back later for more coverage of this game and see the next print edition of The News Courier.