By SAM McGAW | Photos by KINDELL MOORE
MUFREESBORO — Page striker Andrew Metkler took a game-high six shots against Jackson North Side Tuesday, but it was his final delivery that mattered the most.
After 99 minutes of a scoreless tie, Metkler broke away and fired the game-winning goal to send the Patriots to the Class A-AA semifinals with a 1-0 overtime victory.
“He keeps trying and he keeps going, and that’s what makes good strikers,” Page head coach Nate Clapp said. “If he were to give up and get discouraged, he wouldn’t be the amazing player he is.”
Freshman Ethan Henderson fed Metkler the ball for the last-minute score in the first overtime.
“We beat them on a counter, got it down to the wing and then Ethan played a great ball behind their defense and I just took a touch and hit it,” Metkler said.
Page (17-6-1) outshot Jackson Northside 21-13.
“We were countering the whole game, because they were pushed up so far and we had plenty of space to dribble,” Metkler stated. “We were full-speed attacking and then they just parked the bus. It was physically exhausting. We were sprinting the field and nothing was coming off.”
Goalkeeper Wilson West made 10 saves for the Patriots.
“We fell asleep a few times on defense and if he wouldn’t have done what he did and stayed as focused as he was, we definitely wouldn’t be playing tomorrow,” Clapp said. “He’s a senior and he’s really come on in the last two weeks.”
West denied Jackson North Side on five different open-look opportunities in the second half.
“I wasn’t going home,” West said. “I’m a senior and I’ve been here. That was the field we lost on before. I want to go to the championship in our year.”
The Patriots played a man down for all of overtime after Nick Burns received a red card with two minutes left in regulation. Metkler was booted from the game with 35 seconds left in overtime after he received his second yellow card.
The Patriots will battle Christian Academy of Knoxville in a semifinal bout at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro. CAK defeated Boyd Buchanan 6-5 in penalty kicks to secure a 2-1 final.
CAK eliminated Page in the Class A-AA state quarterfinals in 2015.
“We have to keep our minds right, because the mind is basically the whole battle,” West said. “You can get your body right any day, but getting your mind to the punch is what you have to do.”