TAMPA — Deion Jones turned, fired and scored his most significant goal to date.
The Freedom senior extended his high school career by at least one game with his double-overtime golden goal for a 3-2 win over River Ridge in a Class 4A region quarterfinal. Jones saved what almost became a disastrous collapse after Freedom held the lead twice in regulation.
"River Ridge played a really good game tonight," Freedom coach Dennis Derflinger said. "Keeping them around, this game could have gone either way."
River Ridge midfielder Vinny Panetta took advantage of the Patriots' sluggish second half when he collected a loose ball around the 18-yard line and lofted it over keeper Kyle Peel to send the game to overtime.
"I told them to keep working hard," Derflinger said. "…We were kind of out of our game this evening. River Ridge took us out of the game in the second half. I just told them to dig down, play harder, play smarter."
The Patriots (14-2-5) took a 1-0 lead just two minutes in on a high shot by senior Manny Martes to beat Royal Knights keeper Sean Jones. River Ridge (12-10-1) answered in the 22nd minute just moments after an earlier attempt deflected off the crossbar.
Then in the 29th minute, Freedom surged ahead after Jones beat a pair of defenders, then sent a low cross onto the foot of teammate Doug Yablun. He turned, fired and gave Freedom a 2-1 lead.