Dallastown's cardiac kids win again in PKs, advance to District 3 4-A boys' soccer final
DALLASTOWN — The Dallastown boys’ soccer team has become the cardiac kids of the District 3 playoffs.
As long as the Wildcats are on the right side of the outcome, however, coach Andrew Foust will gladly take it.
Tuesday evening at home against Hempfield in a district Class 4-A semifinal contest, the Wildcats did it again.
After a heart-pounding quarterfinal victory over Ephrata ended with the Wildcats needing penalty kicks to decide the outcome, the Dallastown boys again took it to the max on Tuesday in the semifinals.
Trailing by a goal halfway through the second half, Hempfield took advantage of a penalty kick to even the score. It remained deadlocked at 1-1 through the end of regulation as well as after two 15-minute overtime sessions.
Then, it was déjà vu all over again for Dallastown on the coldest night of the season. The home team converted on four of their five PKs, including the game-winner by Owen Peri, to send the Wildcats to the district final with the 4-2 penalty-kicks decision.
Dallastown (20-2-1), the No. 2 seed in the bracket, will now face top-seeded Central Dauphin (19-0), a 3-1 winner over Warwick in the other semifinal, at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium. Saturday’s final will mark the second time in three years that the Rams and Wildcats will battle for the district crown, with CD earning a victory back in 2019.
“I don’t like the routine,” Foust said of his team’s second consecutive PK shootout victory. “But we prepare every day for this kind of stuff and the boys are ready.”
Peri does it again: That was especially true for Peri, who also scored the game-winning PK against Ephrata.
“I have my side,” the Dallastown junior said. “But I’m confident in both. I think about placement but I’m confident.”
Even with that confidence, Peri looked up to the sky just before taking his kick.
“I was praying,” he said.
That prayer was again answered. Peri blasted his shot into the net, setting off a frenzied celebration with his teammates.
For Peri, there’s nothing better.
“I love it,” he said. “Because I can win the game. The game was on my shoulders. It was great. It happened (Saturday), so it was déjà vu.”
Dallastown got on the board first when Kaden Kashner was credited with a goal on a ball that was ultimately deflected into the Hempfield net by a Black Knight player.
That goal stood up well into the second half, but was negated after a hand-ball foul in the Dallastown box awarded Hempfield (14-6-1) a penalty kick with 15:09 remaining. Hempfield’s Nate Schwartz blasted his attempt past Wildcats goalie Jacob Morouse to even the score.
“We’re used to situations like that, I guess you can say,” Foust said. “We practice this kind of stuff and I don’t really get too worried about how they’re going to respond.”
Morouse shines during PKs: While Morouse was unable to stop the game-tying goal in regulation, he was able to keep three of the first four Hempfield shooters in the PK session out of the net.
That didn’t surprise Foust or Peri one bit.
“Jacob has really stepped into his senior goalkeeper role and embraces it,” Foust said.
“I love that guy,” Peri added. “He’s a hard worker. He always talks to me and doesn’t let anything get behind. He’s a great keeper.”
Facing Central Dauphin, again: Now the Wildcats will get ready to face a CD team that they defeated in the first round of last year’s district tournament.
Saturday, both teams will be looking for a bit of redemption when they square off for a third year in a row.
“We’ve kind of become rivals with Central Dauphin,” Foust said. “We lost to them up in Hershey (two years ago), but we beat them last year in the first round. They’re a talented team and are ranked second in the state by the coaches. So we know they’re a good squad and we’re going up there as the underdogs, but I think we’re OK with that.”
Dallastown, which has already clinched a state playoff berth, is ranked No. 6 in the state in 4-A by the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association.
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