Junior Brent Thomas converted a direct kick by Ryan Drenner, from just outside the penalty box, to lift Westminster over Catonsville, 3-2, in overtime in the Class 4A North Region quarterfinals.
“That’s my first game-winning goal. I can’t believe it,” said Thomas, who deflected the praise. “Drenner did the hard work and I just did the easy work.”
Thomas’ goal, and an earlier score by Travis Wunder, that tied the game at 2-2 with 4:11 left in regulation, came with the Owls playing a man-down after a red card.
Catonsville dominated time of possession and shots, but it was the Owls who took a 1-0 lead into halftime, after a breakaway goal by Gene Barrett.
Catonsville made repeated crosses in the second half that they couldn’t redirect until Parker Croom received a pass from Cody Scott and sent a beautiful cross that Emmanuel Amihere sent into the net with a back header with 19:33 left in the second half.
Just over six minutes later Croom drilled a shot into the top right shelf and the Comets led 2-1.
Catonsville continued to apply pressure with strong runs from Croom, Daniel Kim, Tim Burk and Scott, but they played more tentatively after the Westminster player received the red card.
Meanwhile, the Owls, who defeated the Comets 1-0 last year in the region semifinals, felt their chance for a comeback slipping away until Wunder scored the equalizer.
“We were down on the sidelines and we felt like we were just done and then we got that goal and we were just pumped up and we felt like we could win,” Thomas said.
“It (tying goal) was a mental lapse on defense and a little bit of luck on their part,” Catonsville coach Vic Vega said.
The coach felt the Comets could have had more goals in the first half, but they failed to convert numerous opportunities.
“We were very impatient in the first half,” Vega said. “We were taking shots from 30 yards out we had no business taking. In the second half, we needed to work the ball inside the 20-yard line and we did. Both goals were on nice shots and we showed some patience.”
Catonsville, who lost to Perry Hall in the Baltimore County championship game, finished the season 11-3-2 despite playing much of it without All-County standout striker Jose Moran.
“They (losses) all hurt, especially this one,” Vega said. “We had such a great season and I think we were the better team tonight.”