South went on to defeat Blue Valley North 4-2 in penalty shootouts, after tying the Mustangs at one goal apiece at the end of regulation. Their victory has secured them a spot in the championship game on Saturday at noon versus Olathe East.
The Huskies took an early 1-0 lead on the Panthers from a powerful goal from Husky senior Michael Richardson in the first half. The Panthers would go into the locker room trailing the Huskies and losing momentum.
The match became much more physical in the first twenty minutes of the second half, as all players began to fight for their respective teams. Alex Weatherly, South senior, suffered a questionable no-call after being mauled inside the box by Husky defender Matt Peterson. Alex Weatherly retaliated with a tackle of his own, causing the official to give warnings to both sides.
South’s hopes of making a comeback began to look impossible as Brody Boullion, senior, was given a red card with ten minutes to go. This caused South to play with one man short for the remainder of the game.
Despite being shorthanded, the Panthers continued to surge. The official’s Red Card served as a matadors cape to these pack of bulls. South had more shots on goal in the last ten minutes than they did throughout the entire game. After two close shots from Dylan Kitner and Alex Weatherly, they finally broke into the scoring column from a header from Adam Weatherly, senior, coming off a cross from Junior, Jordan Lindsey.
South went into overtime with ALL the momentum.
After narrowly escaping two respectable shots on goal from the Huskies, it was time for the old fashion PK shootout. Goals were scored by Alex Weatherly, Josh Hall, and Dylan Alderson, and Heath Turner made two impressive saves. The fate of the Panthers lied in the hands of senior captain, Nick Smith, who calm and collected, sank his goal with a powerful strike into the back of the net, giving the Panthers their much deserved victory.
An instant eruption of violet and black rushed over the field and throughout the stands. Despite having their backs to the ropes several times, South bounced back with resiliency and poise.
En route to the championship game, they have defeated the second and fifth ranked teams in Kansas in Blue Valley North and Olathe South. It is the first time South has advanced to the championship game ever.
The Panthers will return to Olathe District Stadium on Saturday afternoon, where they left their hearts and pools of purple perspiration on Thursday night. This time they’ll be taking with them their loud and proud Panther Nation of fans and family, ready to perform at their highest level.
Although conditions appear to be stormy Saturday due to Hurricane Isaac, the expectations are shining in nothing but Gold in this Purple Reign.