Attacking mid-fielder Dawson Bovell had been good all game for East Hamilton but with a little over a minute left in the first period of extra time he suddenly became great. Twenty yards out and with his momentum moving in the opposite direction Bovell managed to chip the ball over the Sequoyah keeper and into the back of the net.
There was one half of extra-time left to play but East Hamilton’s 2-1 lead had been a long time coming and felt insurmountable. The Chiefs’ lack of substitutes started taking its toll long before Bovell scored and was even more evident minutes later when Brayden Hunter added another goal.
Hunter received the ball moving away from goal on the left side of the box. He cut back inside, split two defenders and calmly passed the ball into open space behind the keeper. He sealed Sequoyah’s fate 3-1 and locked up the District 7AA Championship for the Hurricanes.
The 3-1 final score doesn’t properly reflect how tight Wednesday night’s championship game was. East Hamilton trailed for most of the game and Sequoyah missed several chances to solidify their early lead with a second goal.
The game became very physical very early and six cards would be shown before the final whistle. Neither team managed to physically dominate the other, although they both tried.
In the opening minutes of the first half East Hamilton appeared to be the better side, but as the game went on it was Sequoyah who was getting the batter chances. The Hurricanes switched the ball well along their back line and made progress up the wings, but they weren’t putting anything near Chiefs' goalie Alex Espinoza.
Sequoyah’s counter-attacking strategy worked well early in the game and with 11 minutes off the clock they finally broke through. Sprinting on a fast break Jose Avila dribbled the ball into the 18-yard box, picked up his head and lobbed a pass to Ruben Ramirez.
When Ramirez leapt into the air and blasted the ball into the upper left-hand corner of the net there was nothing East Hamilton Goalie Carston Finch could have done. Ramirez, a senior, was Sequoyah’s best player and he ranged across the field, from the back line to striker, all night.
In the first half neither team generated many good shots on goal, but East Hamilton really struggled to create. On multiple occasion the Hurricanes managed to put together several attacking passes in a row and would seem almost curtain to score before being turned away by the Sequoyah defense.
In the final minutes of the first half East Hamilton trapped Sequoyah inside their own defensive third with the quality of their passing but the halftime whistle blew before they were able to really test Espinoza in goal.
As the second half drug on East Hamilton was still suffering from the same problem, a lack of productivity in the final third. Sequoyah started to suffer from a new problem in the second half, a lack of substitutes on the bench. The Hurricanes started creeping closer and closer to goal until finally Hank Smallwood was fouled just outside the box.
Smallwood didn’t go for goal, he tried to chip a pass onto the head of on attacking Hurricane, but the ball was booted right back out to him. Smallwood took the ball off the bounce and ripped it into the back of the net, tying the game with 18 minutes left to play.
As the clock ticked down Ramirez, Avila and winger Nata Carcamo gave Sequoyah one more round of sustained attacking flurry, but they didn’t make anything happen.
East Hamilton earned two corners in the last seconds of the half, but both crosses past through the six-yard box without anyone getting a foot to it, and the game went into extra time.
The Chiefs had nothing left in the tank for the extra time and Bovell and Brayden Hunter made them pay.
Both teams advance to the regional semifinals, but East Hamilton will carry the higher seed.