© St. Petersburg Times, published February 19, 2003
PALMETTO -- Outplayed, outshot and outhustled, Brandon somehow found a way to win Tuesday against Palmetto 3-2 in overtime.
"You've got to be lucky sometimes," Eagles coach Allen Ware said. "This is probably the best team we've played all year. They were certainly the fastest."
The Tigers (19-1-2) showed why they were undefeated heading into the game, as they pressured Brandon with a 20-13 edge in shots. However, they made some costly defensive mistakes late.
Brandon took a lead in the 18th minute as Andy Skiffington followed on a deflected shot by Jason Poole. Moments later, Tigers goalie Brooks McAllister made a spectacular diving save to rob Derek Goforth on a point-blank shot.
Palmetto evened it in the 35th minute when David Gonzales collected a loose ball in the box and finish in the right corner for his 24th goal.
Gonzales collected his 25th on a header from a corner kick by Jose Lopez in the 49th minute, and it appeared the Tigers were in control.
Then, with about four minutes remaining, things began to fall apart for the Tigers. Michael Guess collided with McAllister on a loose ball in the corner of the penalty box, and Jason Poole was taken down when he tried to get to it. Poole calmly stepped up and nailed the penalty kick with 3:40 remaining.
With two minutes to play, Guess again had a breakaway and was taken down by McAllister, resulting in a red card for the keeper. Playing down a man in overtime, Palmetto gave up another penalty kick when Guess went down in the box. This time, Guess converted for the game-winner.
"This whole thing was a farce," Palmetto coach Dustin Dahlquist said. "Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think the better team won tonight."
Brandon (19-1-2) will travel on Friday to play state champion Lake Gibson, a 3-2 winner over Lehigh. Brandon lost to the Braves 1-0 on penalty kicks in last season's regional quarterfinal, but beat them 3-2 in December's Student Sports Tournament.