GILMAN — A record-setting season came to a screeching halt for the Hoopeston Area soccer program.
Herscher senior Zach Simmons scored the game-winning goal in the Tigers 2-1 victory over the Cornjerkers with just 00.7 seconds left in the IHSA Class 1A sectional championship at Iroquois West High School.
“Although that will be the play that will be remembered, we didn’t lose it in that split second,’’ Hoopeston Area coach John Klaber said. “We didn’t come out like I wanted. We were flat and we didn’t play like we did on Tuesday in the sectional semifinals.’’
The game-winning goal for Herscher came on a corner kick in the final 10 seconds from senior Trenton Cruse, who had attempted a corner kick all year.
“There is really nothing that you can do in that situation,’’ said Hoopeston Area senior Brennan Crose. “They got a lucky roll on the ball. It was just a scramble in the box and that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Crose echoed his coach’s sentiments, saying that play didn’t decide the match.
“Our goalie (Trey Layden) said he was sorry, but it’s not his fault at all,’’ Crose said. “He played a heck of a game. We had multiple opportunities to score. I had two that I didn’t finish. It doesn’t come down to that play if we we would have finished earlier in the match.
“It was a great game. We just didn’t finish enough and they did.’’
The only goal for the Cornjerkers, who finish their season at 18-5, came from Crose in the final seconds of the first half.
Herscher’s Jaeger Erickson failed to clear the ball out of his penalty box and his header attempt went right to Crose, who buried his shot into the right-side of the goal.