Maize tops Maize South for second time, claims regional championship
MAIZE, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Entering regional play, all four teams knew they had their work cut out for them in the toughest regional pod in the state, or “group of death” as Maize head coach Mike Pfeifer called it.
His Eagles came out of the week unscathed, topping rival Maize South for the second time in nine days to advance to the state quarterfinal round.
The Mavericks got the scoring started in the 21st minute with Raul Gerhardus delivering a cross to fellow senior Landon Eskridge to put the Mavericks on top 1-0. Great goalkeeping from both Maize South’s Payton Simon and Maize’s Grant Wessley kept things at 1-0 for the next 42 minutes, despite countless shots on goal from both sides.
Then in the 63rd minute, going into the wind, the Eagles' Mikey Velasquez broke through, striking a set piece from distance, bending it across the net and in to level the match at one goal apiece, one of the top goals you’ll see all season.
That score held for less than two minutes before Maize took the lead, this time Angel DeLeon punching it in from close range to put the Eagles ahead 2-1.
Fast forward to the final minute of regulation, same score, Maize South had four consecutive tries from the corner. The final one proved to be what they needed, Adam Dyer delivering it and Eskridge earning the brace with a header to tie the game at 2 with just 32 seconds to play, eventually sending it to overtime.
Then in OT, it was Velasquez that called game, slipping by a defender after a deep clearance and striking it into the net off the fingertips of a diving Simon for the match winner, keeping the Eagles season alive and ending the Mavericks in heartbreaking fashion.
Maize South ends the year with a 16-2 mark, both losses coming to the Eagles in the final three games of the season. The loss will keep them short of an attempt to reach the state title match for a third straight season.
Maize (15-2-1) will look to keep its season alive with a home quarterfinal match against Great Bend set for Tuesday, November 3, at 6:00 pm. The winner there will advance to the final four to be held at Spring Hill High School next Friday and Saturday.
Bishop Carroll will host Andover Central in the other 5A West quarterfinal match, that also set for Tuesday at 6.
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