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It was fitting that the ball found its way to Anderson Iriarete Herrera’s foot midway through the second overtime of Monday night’s boys soccer county championship game.

Iriarete Herrera had already scored a goal earlier in the game and had been generating chances all night. Finally, roughly 63 minutes after he put Annapolis ahead of Meade, he ended the game and gave the Panthers a 2-1 victory and the county championship.

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“I just turned around and said in my mind, ‘I’m going to shoot this,’” he said. “It’s a great feeling when you create chances and help your team win, especially in the championship game.”

Annapolis, also the regular-season county champion, defeated Meade for the second time in two weeks. The Panthers’ only loss in the regular season came to Severna Park on Sept. 24.

“That was very tenacious, fast-paced and back and forth,” Annapolis coach Jake Shinn said. “It seemed like it could have gone either way. Our boys just dug in and played with a tremendous amount of heart.”

The game was in overtime thanks to a goal from Meade’s Caleb Pritchett early in the second half. The teams had their share of chances over the final 34 minutes of regulation, but Meade goalie Ethan Miller and his Annapolis counterpart Connor Walter had good positioning all night and made some tough stops look routine.

Annapolis (12-1) had the better of the chances in the first overtime, but Miller made three saves to force a second 10-minute extra session. The teams traded chances off corner kicks in the opening minutes of the second overtime, then Miller was aggressive coming off his line at the six-minute mark to deny an Annapolis threat.

“We knew we were in for a game and we knew we were going to give them a game,” Meade coach Rob Biondoillo said. “I like the way our boys played. We spent a whole season trying to play intelligent soccer and working hard. They did that tonight.”

The teams will go their separate ways in the upcoming playoffs. Annapolis is the No. 2 seed in the Class 4A East Region II. After a first-round bye, the Panthers will host Severna Park on Friday in a region semifinal with a chance to avenge their only loss of the season.

“We knew this was something we wanted to win,” Shinn said. “They learned how hard they’re going to have to work for things.”

Meade (9-6) is the No. 4 seed in the Class 4A East Region I and will host Glen Burnie on Wednesday night. If the Mustangs get by the Gophers, they’ll face top-seed Arundel in a region semifinal.

“I think we mentally prepared for this one as a unique game,” Biondoillo said. “We went into this as if it was our last game.”

Annapolis went into halftime with a 1-0 lead on a goal from Iriarte Herrera late in the half. Iriate Herrera’s goal came after he had generated several quality scoring chances in the half. He had a shot go just wide in the eighth minute, then got free but had a shot deflected 10 minutes later.

He had another chance a minute later, but sent a shot just over the crossbar.

Meade had a corner kick midway through the first half, but Iriarte Herrera headed the ball out of danger. He nearly scored in the 28th minute, but sent a shot high.

Meade had its best chances in the first 10 minutes of the game, but a header was sent over the goal in the eighth minute and another shot went high two minutes later.

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