There were plenty of reasons why Half Moon Bay High School could have lost to Mills in a Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division match Thursday.
The Cougars were without the services of goalie Kieran Wolk, who was sick and didn’t attend school.
Then, with about one minute left in the second overtime period, the host Vikings had both the ball and a one-goal lead.
Despite those long odds, the Cougars played tight defense, received a goal by Matt Tolar and forced the game to sudden death.
After some back and fourth, Mills missed a golden opportunity to win despite having a 2-0 breakaway. Half Moon Bay finished off the Vikings on Jack Dobbrow’s seventh goal of the game, giving the Cougars an 18-17 win.
Half Moon Bay’s other league match win last week was not so dramatic, a 20-8 decision over Priory.
The Cougars are alone in first with a 3-0 record.
The Cougars play at 4 p.m. Thursday at Terra Nova. They play at San Mateo on Oct. 2.
Half Moon Bay appeared poised to win the match in regulation — up by 3 midway through the fourth quarter.
It was easy to assume the game was over as the Vikings picked up just one win last year.
That was last year. Mills played as if last year was an anomaly. The Vikings cut the lead, eventually tying the score late in the match. Half Moon Bay had the final chance, but couldn’t score, forcing the match into two three-minute overtime periods.
Neither team scored in the first overtime, but, after an exchange of goals in the second overtime, Mills took the lead with more than a minute left in the game.
The Viking defense prevailed.
“When they were leading late in the match, I was very worried,” Dobbrow said.
Half Moon Bay got one more chance when the Vikings kept the ball on their own side of the pool until there were a few seconds left on the 30-second shot clock.
The ball was passed down the pool where Half Moon Bay got one final chance to tie the score. Matt Tolar tied the score with five seconds left in the period.
Mills couldn’t get a shot off, sending the game to sudden death.
The Vikings had the first big chance to win, forcing a steal, setting up a 2-0 break.
Thomas Simons, filling in for Wolk, knocked down the shot.
“I was very nervous,” Simons said. “I just concentrated on the ball.”
Simons then started the final play of the match, passing the ball down pool. Dobbrow took a sweep shot at one side of the goal, while the goalie went toward the other side.
“It was the most intense game I have ever played,” said Dobbrow, who scored seven goals, while getting five assists and five steals. “I am now tired.”
Kevin Merritt added four goals to go with six steals and two assists in the win over Priory. Tolar and Thomas Meador each scored three goals. Avery Calhoun also scored.
Merritt scored six goals against Priory, with Tolar and Alex Chee each scoring four goals.