A subtle change of sides for Hunter Clark made the difference in Daviess County winning the Boys' 3rd Region soccer championship.
Clark scored from about 25 yards out in the fourth minute of overtime to lift the Panthers to a 2-1 win over Owensboro High School in front of a packed-in crowd of 400 fans at Independence Field.
Clark, a junior, also had the serve off a corner kick in the 15th minute that Jacob Boling converted on a high shot that just got over OHS keeper Radley Worth.
But it was the game-winner that Clark will remember for a long time.
"I looked up, I'd got a cramp, I looked at the far post and shot it," Clark said. "This was a young team. I didn't think we were going to make it this far."
Clark had been playing on the left side much of the night, but DC made an adjustment heading into the first overtime period.
"We moved Hunter to the right forward. It was just a gut feeling I had, my assistant coaches were on board with it," DC coach Doug Sandifer said. "They knew what we were doing with him on the left side. I thought let's mix it up. He cut in, got a ball going to the inside on his left foot, got a shot off. We were fortunate the move paid off, he was in the right place at the right time and he got a good shot on goal."
OHS coach Ryan Haley thought shifting sides with Clark was a smart thing for DC to do.
"The difference in the overtime was they moved Hunter Clark to the right side of the field so he could cut in on his left foot," Haley said. "He drifted toward the middle, our back was afraid to follow him and leave bare space, he found some room, got the shot off."
After it went in, DC's players charged to the other side of the field to celebrate with its large group of fans.
OHS tied the game up in the 45th minute when Grayson McFarland drilled a free kick just under the crossbar.
It seemed like a lot of the rest of the second half was spent watching a variety of corner kicks from Daviess County. The Panthers had 13 corner kicks in the game but could only convert the early one for a goal in the first half.
"We told them we would get corner kicks," Sandifer said. "We scored off one early tonight, we were putting them in dangerous spots, and we felt like we should have had another one."
Keeping corner kicks at a minimum was a defensive goal for the Red Devils.
"One of the major factors was to deny them the ability to have corner kicks," Haley said. "They had a multitude of corner kicks."
The two teams went to double overtime in the 9th District championship game, which DC also won 2-1.
"We've got some experience with this," Sandifer said. "My main thing in overtime is to be calm, you don't want to freak out, play panicked. Both times we've done this, our guys played calm."
DC went to 18-2-2 on the season and awaits the winner of the 2nd Region, either Henderson County or Madisonville-North Hopkins, who play their championship game Friday night.
OHS finished 17-6-2.
"I'm absolutely proud of our guys," Haley said. "They gave everything they could."