SAVANNAH, Ga. -- After neither Savannah Christian nor Brookstone emerged the winner during regulation in the GHSA Class A second-round playoff soccer match Wednesday, Raider coach Owen Gifford hoped his team could break through in overtime before being forced to wait out a tension-filled penalty kick competition.
Savannah Christian senior striker Will Fox eased Gifford's worries.
Fox fielded a ball in front of the goal less than a minute into the second 5-minute overtime session and drilled a shot toward the net. The ball deflected off the post, but Fox alertly got the rebound and scored to lift the Raiders past the Cougars 2-1.
"Will's a very special player, and that goal exemplifies his never-give-up attitude," Gifford said of Fox, who accounted for both of Savannah Christian's goals. "A lot of our play comes to him, but he's very unselfish. He's always quick to make the right pass or the right soccer play.
"He just knows how to score; he's got a nose for the ball."
The Raiders (12-2-1) came out aggressively, barely missing on a few shots in the first half -- thanks to nine saves from Brookstone goalkeeper Ben Holt, who kept the match scoreless at halftime.
The Raiders finally got on the board in the 49th minute when Fox beat Holt, who went charging for a loose ball in the box. Fox deflected it off Holt's hand and into the net for a 1-0 lead.
The Cougars (9-9) didn't go away, though. On a similar play to Fox's first score, forward Miller Page outran the Savannah Christian defenders to a long clearance and knocked it past Raider keeper Logan Tovar to tie the game with 19 minutes remaining.
The Raiders had a few chances to retake the lead in the closing minutes of regulation but missed two shots and failed to convert on a pair of corner kicks.
"After the first goal, I thought we had the game in hand, but they fought back strong," Gifford said of the Cougars.
"We really had to put the pressure on in that overtime period."
And finally, thanks to Fox's heroics, the pressure paid off.
"I did not want that game to go into penalty kicks because they're the most nerve-wracking thing in the sport of soccer," Gifford said. "I felt like we had them on the ropes going into overtime, and I felt like we were going to score eventually.
"I guess our guys just felt like making me nervous."
Savannah Christian will host Aquinas, which beat Pacelli 3-2 on Wednesday, on Saturday in the quarterfinals.
Wednesday at Savannah Christian
Goals--Brookstone Miller Page; SCPS, Will Fox 2. Saves--Brookstone Ben Holt 12; SCPS, Logan Tovar 7. Records--Brookstone 9-9; SCPS 12-2-1.