Boys' soccer: Stauffer's goal in OT propels Elizabethtown to district quarters
ELIZABETHTOWN - In Kyle Stauffer's mind - and his belly, too - there's only one 'Breakfast of Champions.
And it involves a particular delicacy generally reserved for dessert, birthday celebrations and whatever gathering a cupcake or two would be widely accepted - and consumed. Apparently, 'Wheaties' is not on his list.
Well, after collecting the game-winning finish in Elizabethtown's 2-1 overtime triumph over Dallastown, here's a guess that the youngster his coach calls 'Cupcake' will take the time to down one, two, maybe more.
All with extra icing and/or cream filling.
Stauffer's goal with 4:59 gone in OT, which brought Tuesday night's District 3-AAA round-of-16 scrap to an abrupt ending at frosty Jane Hoover Field, propelled James Sostack's youthful Bears into Saturday's quarterfinals at Hersheypark Stadium.
Up next for E-town (16-1-2) is a 7:30 p.m. encounter against No. 2 Cumberland Valley, a 2-0 victor over Greencastle-Antrim.
Braydon Shuck also connected for Sostack's club. Kyle Schimmel netted the lone goal for Matt Zimmerman's scrappy Wildcats (12-7-1).
Locked up at 1-all after 80 minutes of all-or-nothing soccer that was contested all over Hoover's sizable layout - whether 75 yards from goal or somewhere in the defensive third - the hometown Bears did not wait long to strike.
And when the ball was played deep into Dallastown's end several minutes into OT, Shuck uncorked the first pop, only to have his shot stalled by Wildcats goalkeeper A.J. Lentz (2 saves) and/or one of his buddies in the defensive backfield.
Finding the rebound unattended and just sitting there, Stauffer unloaded.
And Stauffer - the nickname arrived some time back when Stauffer downed a cupcake for breakfast at some point - didn't miss.
"[Shuck] just flicked it on," recalled Stauffer, one of E-town's few seniors. "I turned around and it was right there. And I was like, 'Oh, yeah.' Just shot it."
Game over - just like that.
"We put our hearts on the line," said Stauffer, part of an Elizabethtown program that tumbled from 3-AAA play in the prelims or round of 16 each of the last three years.
Last season, eventual runner-up Lower Dauphin nipped the Bears 1-0 in OT.
"Feels great to finally win a district game," a satisfied Stauffer continued.
"There are no pushovers," Sostack said, referring to No. 7 E-town's duel with a 10th-seeded Dallastown club. "Everybody deserves their ticket. We know in that middle of the pack in districts, you're going to be evenly matched up with whoever you play.
"It's gonna probably be decided in overtime or PKs. We didn't want PKs."
When one considers that an Elizabethtown club fielding a sizable number of sophomores didn't have a quality scoring opportunity for the last 10 minutes or so of the opening half and all of the second, that's how close it was.
Dallastown authored a pair of chances - one by Drake Pew and the other by Evan Robinson - and both were handled by soph keeper Austin Denlinger (2 saves).
Then, in OT
"That's a testament to the quality of Dallastown. It's actually a reflection of the first time we played," Sostack admitted, referring to a 1-1 regular-season draw.
"There is absolutely no breathing room. It's a game of opportunities and the ball bounced our way this time."
Although Zimmerman's Wildcats were turned away some 14 minutes in when Jake Marsico's blast was detoured by the crossbar, it was E-town that struck first almost three minutes later when Grey Fertich's through ball found Shuck.
A touch, maybe two later, Shuck's curling rip from some 20 yards out eluded a diving Lentz and passed just inside the left upright for a 1-0 lead.
Dallastown wasn't deterred, however, as Schimmel banged home a loose ball in the 34th minute after Pew's deep rip tattooed the bar and bounded back into play.
They'd play for some 50 minutes more before deciding it.
"It's not league play any more, it's how it ends," Zimmerman said. "You get something like that, a little deflection here or there. Hey, we scored on a deflection, too, on a second-chance ball. They scored on a second-chance ball.
"Hey, it was always gonna come down to that," Zimmerman continued. "Just a little bit of luck. Not brilliance, just flat-out luck, and that's what happened. I'm happy for them. They're a good side. I hope they go far."
Elizabethtown 2, Dallastown 1 (OT)
Scoring: 1. E-Braydon Shuck (Grey Fertich), 16:25; 2. D-Kyle Schimmel (Drake Pew), 33:36; 3. E-Kyle Stauffer (Shuck), 84:59.
Shots: D 5, E 4.
Corners: D 4, E 4.
Saves: D (A.J. Lentz-2), E (Austin Denlinger-2).