It took only about eight more minutes after the first goal and the Rams' Amadeo Villegas got a little bit of luck and scored again for Highland to go up 2-0 headed into halftime. Villegas was somewhat lucky because Woods Cross goalie Matt Jensen very nonchalantly let the ball roll right past him into the left-hand corner of the net.
Jensen appeared to be thinking that the ball was simply going to roll out of bounds and he was going to settle for a goal kick. Jensen played well the rest of the game and one could tell that that goal really bothered the freshman goalie.
One player who really turned on the physicality and intensity for Woods Cross in the second half was Trevor Eschler. Eschler, a senior captain for the Wildcats, has always been looked upon as the spark plug for Woods Cross and this game was no different.
The rough Woods Cross play seemed to rattle the Highland team and they seemed more worried about what the referees were not calling than the game at hand.
Highland did continue its great defense for much of the second half. At the 50-minute mark Woods Cross got their first corner kick chance of the second half, but they couldn't get the ball in the net.
The Wildcats really started to pressure Highland the final 20 minutes of this game, but still nothing got past the Rams' defense. Woods Cross had a great chance at the 60-minute mark when they were awarded a penalty kick about 25 yards out that they still couldn't convert into a goal.
The final 10 minutes of regulation was some of the most intense soccer you'll see around. The Wildcats couldn't convert on another corner kick at the 70-minute mark and Highland was able to clear that out. Highland was awarded their own corner kick opportunity in the 74th minute and Woods Cross denied them the chance to seal the victory.
After the failed Highland corner, Woods Cross marched down the field and were again given a golden chance when referees gave them a penalty kick just five yards outside the penalty box.
Eschler took the penalty kick and ricocheted the ball off about four different players before it finally ended up in Nate Evans' lap right in front of the Highland net. Evans calmly tapped the ball into the goal to make it 2-1 and give the Wildcats some momentum.
The pressure continued from the Woods Cross offense. The furious comeback attempt was about to end for the Wildcats when Eschler had another corner kick chance in the final minute of regulation.
Eschler struck probably one of his worst corner kicks of his entire life that barely reached the front corner of the Highland goal. Then the unthinkable happened. Ville-gas of Highland attempted to head the ball out of the goal area and clear out the threat when the ball was mis-hit by Villegas and the ball went directly backwards into the Highland net to tie it back up 2-2 and force overtime.
The overtime started a little like the first half had played out. Highland pressured from the opening kickoff of the extra period, but Woods Cross' defense really stiffened up their play the final 50 minutes of the game.
The Wildcats got a great chance at breaking the tie with a corner kick at the seven-minute mark of overtime. They didn't score off the chance and it seemed the game would end in a tie.
About a minute later, though, Nate Evans got the ball at midfield and chipped a terrific pass to a streaking Matt Edwards right down the middle of the field. Edwards grabbed it cleanly and left-footed a perfect floater over the Highland goalie's outstretched fingertips to score the golden overtime goal and keep the Wildcats undefeated in Region 5.
Needless to say, some Highland players and fans weren't exactly thrilled with how the game ended up or how the game unfolded, especially with the officiating.
It's a stretch to say that, at 1-0, Woods Cross is undefeated in region play, but every game counts so much more when it's league play. The Wildcats outscored the Rams 10-3 last year in their two wins against them, but this year seems to be an extension of how Highland closed out their season last year.
Highland started out the 2004 season with a dreadful 0-7-1 record. They turned it around the last half of the season and ended up with a 9-9-1 overall record culminating with a shootout loss in the state semifinals.
Woods Cross continues Region 5 play with a game at Cyprus Friday afternoon.