We have had some good HOTT Lax finals in the last eight years. But this was the best. Period.
Nick Sigmon (Glenn) tied the game with under a minute left in regulation and Jackson Sapp (W Stokes) scored from 8 yards out with 1:30 left in overtime to carry the Goliath Groupers to a come-from-behind 8-7 title game victory over top seed Crossefit under the lights at soggy Cash-Bagley Fields last night. Sapp’s heroics capped an incredible run for the Groupers, who barely survived against Cheddar in the semifinals, again in overtime. The gritty Groupers simply refused to lose, riding several clutch saves by goalie Wyatt Puckett (Wesleyan Christian) and the ground ball play of
Mitch Reichart (E Alamance) and Jason Trace (Ragsdale) to bring home the Fiery Cup to head coach Sam Newland for the second year in a row. The physical contest was for much of the game an offensive duel between Crossefit wizard Jack Dean (Oak Ridge Military) and Grouper middie Gage Pearman (SW Guilford). Crossefit appeared to have the game won late — holding a 7-5 lead in the waning minutes — but a key late-hit call on a Grouper goal gave possession back to the Groupers and away from Crossefit faceoff stud Jack Dean and was key in turning the tide.
In the end, the drenched spectators knew they had seen a game for the ages, one in which two outstanding teams gave it their all.
Congratulation to the Goliath Groupers, HS HOTT Lax Champions of 2016!