For 79 minutes and 24 seconds of the 80-minute IHSA 1A regional contest between Oregon and Winnebago on Oct. 16, the Hawks had dominated the proceedings.
The only problem was that Oregon hadn’t mustered a goal yet and it appeared both teams would be heading into overtime tied 0-0.
Probably the biggest question at that time was whether the encroaching darkness would enable the game to continue.
That concern quickly became a moot point as Winnebago (8-9-3 record) stunned the Hawks with a goal with 36 seconds left in the game for a 1-0 upset win.
“The reason we play soccer is because we love it,” Oregon coach Ben Thomas said. “This game can also be so cruel.”
That was exactly the case for Oregon as Spencer Lindgren of Winnebago got past the Hawk back line and floated the ball over the head of goalkeeper Ryan Gilmour for the winning goal.
“That kid has a ridiculous pace,” Winnebago coach Nick Roman. “Put him up top and create the ball to him and he’ll make something happen.”
In somewhat of a fluke play about 20 yards away from the goal, Lindgren suddenly found himself one-on-one with Gilmour.
“I beat the defense and the keeper came out on me and I chipped (popped the ball up) him,” Lindgren said. “I knew I had to chip it over him.”
With how fast the play happened, it was difficult for Thomas and everyone else at the Park West Field to determine what actually transpired.
“I’m not sure if we got caught,” Thomas said. “Our backline (Trevor Nelson, Adam Weller, Troy Pudlas, Trey Wilson) all played well.
Nobody did anything wrong. It was a broken play. The ball fell into their favor.”
What made the loss even more difficult to accept was that the Hawks had more shots at goal than the Indians, especially in the second half.
At the 24-minute mark, Tony Guajardo missed the left side of the post by two feet. A few minutes later, Juan Ocampo missed the other post by nearly as close.
The Hawk onslaught continued as Ryan Bennett had another shot on goal and Konner Wilson followed with a chest shot near the net.
“We were working on the combination between midfielders and forwards,” Thomas said. “We put ourselves in the best scoring opportunities. I thought we dominated the game and led in time of possession.”
Other than Lindgren’s goal, Winnebago only had one other legitimate attempt. With 30 minutes left in the game, Lindgren got loose on a breakaway, but Gilmour stopped his shot.
“I feel like we worked harder and moved the ball better,” Oregon senior Ian Starkey said. “We just couldn’t find the back of the net. We had a lot of close ones, but the excitement of watching those shots became a heartbreaker as they missed.”
Oregon ends the season with an 11-8-3 record and finished second in the Big Northern conference.
“My goal was for everyone to get better,” Thomas said. “That’s what they did since the beginning of the year. Everyone on the field today had their best game.”