The new Brookstone varsity football coach might should consider giving Ben Holt a shot at wide receiver next fall.
The freshman goalkeeper cradled a hard liner from Fellowship Christian's Robert Siegl with 1:05 left in the game to preserve a 3-2 victory for the Cougars in the first round of the Georgia High School Association Class A boys soccer playoffs Thursday night.
"I just reacted," said Holt, who finished with nine saves and looked more like a wideout catching a pass than a goalie on Siegl's boot from the top of the key, about 25 yards away.
"It scared me. I was just counting on my defense to help me. They saved me."
Holt received a good bit of praise from the coaching staff, but the Cougars pulled through late. Brookstone had two chances to ice the game in the final six minutes but two corner kicks failed and Fellowship goalkeeper Dekland Reid batted away Hwan Chong's attempt with 4:49 left.
Holt's late save sent a collective sigh of relief through the Brookstone stands.
"My heart was in my throat," coach Billy Byrd said. "Ben is a hard-worker and I've been very impressed with him. He's come on as a freshman and if we didn't believe he could handle it, he wouldn't be starting (in goal) in the playoffs."
The Cougars (10-5-2) staked themselves to an early 2-0 lead in the first half. Bill Pound nailed the first goal 37 seconds into the game before most fans had a chance to settle into their seats. Miller Page's shot hit the crossbar and slipped in at the 23:42 mark as Brookstone seemed ready to pull away. Fellowship managed just five shots on goal in the first half.
"We were playing well," Byrd said. "They were playing like I wanted them to, and I told them not to sit back."
After Martin Ramos' dribbler made it 3-0 with 34:30 left, the adrenaline rush appeared to rub off. In nearly a four-minute span, Fellowship's Austin Daniels scored two headers to cut the deficit to a goal with 22:12 left.
That's when Byrd said his senior defensive standouts stepped forward.
"Trey Amos, Trey Eakle, Sam Martin those seniors really rallied our defense," Byrd said."Pound put more pressure on them up top."
Brookstone advanced to the second round to play Area 3 champion Atlanta International on Tuesday.
Thursday at Brookstone
Brookstone 3, Fellowship Christian 2
Goals: Fellowship - Austin Daniels 2; Brookstone - Bill Pound, Miller Page, Martin Ramos. Assists: Fellowship - David Consoli 2; Brookstone - Hwan Chong, Ramos, Sam Martin. Goalkeepers: Fellowship - Dekland Reid (8 saves); Brookstone - Ben Holt (9 saves). Records: Fellowship 6-9, Brookstone 10-5-2. Next Game: Brookstone at Atlanta International, Tuesday, TBA