Persistence paid off for Century in its boys soccer matchup with Francis Scott Key on Tuesday. With time winding down in regulation, the Knights converted a penalty kick to earn a 1-1 tie in a game that pitted two state championship participants from the 2019 season.
On a night where the seniors were celebrated, it was a junior that provided the spark for Century. Under relentless pressure, FSK junior keeper Kyle Kramlick collided with Aydin Armstrong to the ground while securing the ball, which resulted in the penalty kick.
Armstrong faked right, got Kramlick to commit and beat the keeper to his left for the tying score.
“Super proud of our efforts tonight,” FSK coach Larry Haines said. “That’s a tough PK to take, to have that call made at that point in the game. We respect the decision that was made. We continued to battle. We had our chances.”
For much of the contest, Kramlick shined turning away several golden scoring chances for the Knights. In the first 10 minutes, he stonewalled a pair of point-blank chances. On the first chance, Century corralled the ball following a battle in front of the box after a free kick.
Knights senior midfielder Cameron Santos launched a shot at the goal but Kramlick was up to the task by diving to his left and deflecting the ball outside the post. The junior keeper made another nice sprawling save on the ensuing corner kick.
“He was phenomenal tonight,” Haines said of his keeper. “Kyle has been showcasing his talents all year long to the opposing coaches. All the coaches rave over how well he does.”
Key (0-5-1) got on the board with a little over 9 minutes to go in the first half. The Eagles pressured the Knights defense and were rewarded with a corner kick. Sophomore midfielder Gavin Brussells lofted it toward the goal. Senior captain Jacob Staub timed his leap perfectly and headed the ball past Century junior goalkeeper Vijay Jetton.
Down by a goal at half, Century (1-3-2) ramped up its attack even more following the break trying to get even. A change to their formation led to a bevy of scoring chances and eventually paid off with the tying score.
“We kind of switched the formation a little bit, put three guys at the top,” Century coach Trey Howes said. “We had an advantage on the outside and pressed that.”
Each team had numerous opportunities to score over the two extra periods. In the first overtime, FSK had a shot ring off the crossbar and deflect high. Moments later, Century sent a header wide. Kramlick also came up big in the second overtime with another sprawling save that helped secure the tie.
Following the game, Haines lauded his team for the effort they put forth, ensuring his squad they are so close to tasting that first victory.
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The Eagles went 9-6-2 in 2019 and reached the 1A state final before falling to Mountain Ridge 3-0. Key was going after its first championship since 1986, when the program won the second of back-to-back Class C crowns. The Knights, meanwhile, clipped La Plata 1-0 that season to take the 2A title and net the program’s first state championship since 2003. Century finished the 2019 season with a 15-4 record.
Tuesday was another learning experience for a young Century team, Howes said.
“We have a very young team this year,” Howes said. “I thought that we fought hard. Proud of their effort, just unfortunate that we couldn’t seal the deal. We had many, many chances to score. At the end of the night, we are a young team, just trying to learn how to win.”
Goals: FSK-Jacob Staub; C-Aydin Armstrong
Saves: C-6 (Jackson Zimmer 1, Vijay Jetton 5); FSK-24 (Kyle Kramlick).
Halftime: FSK, 1-0
Because of an editor's error, a previous version of this story had Century and Francis Scott Key as reigning boys soccer state champions. FSK was a 1A state finalist in 2019, while Century won the 2A state title.