Clearwater Central Catholic and Tampa Prep played through regulation and one overtime period without a score.
It appeared another overtime period would expire without a goal, threatening to extend the Class 2A, District 9 semifinal as far as it could go: to the drama of penalty kicks.
But the Marauders avoided that scenario when Kevin Harris scored with 16 seconds left for a 1-0 victory that propeled CCC (8-6-4) to Friday’s championship against Berkeley Prep.
The Bucs (6-10-5) advanced with a 1-0 win over host St. Petersburg Catholic.
“It was the best feeling in the world,” Harris said of his winning goal. “I’ve had clutch shots before, but nothing like this. We were down a man for most of the overtime, and were trying everything possible to make sure we didn’t go to penalty kicks.”
Harris had the opportunity thanks to keeper Dominic Girchan, who made several spectacular saves in the final two minutes.
“Those saves by Dominic gave us all the momentum we needed,” Harris said. “We were energized, because without him we wouldn’t have the opportunity to win.”
The Marauders have made a habit of coming up with last-minute plays to either tie or win.
“We knew that if we continued to press, good things would happen,” CCC coach Frank Seidl said. “We got a good result.”
The second semifinal was nearly identical to the first, with both teams failing to score until late. With three minutes left, Berkeley Prep’s Will Sibson scored the winner.
“I was in the very back, just waiting for the ball,” Sibson said. “When it came to me, I put it in with all that I had. It was a big play for us.”