GILBERT — Bishop England claimed the Class AA state championship today with a 4-3 sudden death victory over Indian Land.
On a long, hot day, just 96 hours after surviving Academic Magnet in penalty kicks, the Bishops still had something in their tank.
Freshman Joel Bunting, who scored the Bishops’ first goal earlier in the match, drilled home a goal with 19 seconds left in the second sudden-death overtime to give the Bishops a 4-3 victory over the Warriors.
Indian Land jumped to a 2-0 lead, but the Bishops rallied to tie it 3-3 in the first half. The teams combined for all the scoring in 19 minutes in the first half. In the second half, there was nothing.
Indian Land led 2-0 just 12 minutes into the match on goals from Nick Retter and Garrett Gerdes.
But in the 13th minute, Bunting scored and brought the Bishops back to life. That is when it got interesting.
Captain Mateo Gomez scored two goals in 94 seconds to give the Bishops a 3-2 lead in the 24th minute. But the Warriors countered with a goal 61 seconds later when Anthony Cutrone found the back of the net.
Bunting is only a freshman, and could spend the rest of his soccer career trying to dupliacate his feat that ended the match. Bunting’s heroics finally settled the match at the 1:09.41 mark.
Bunting walked across the field to the Bishops’ bench and saw the opposing players who fell to their knees and cried. They were drained mentally and physically. He was too.
“I’m very tired,” Bunting said. “I am exhausted. I don’t think I could have gone any further. But I feel good.”
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @PandCPhil