Michael Jackson's famous and ghoulish video wasn't the only "Thriller" this Halloween.
Senior Peter Sherman pushed across a game-winning goal off a scrambled corner kick less than two minutes into the second overtime period, lifting the 10th-seeded Kennedy Cougars to a dramatic 2-1 victory over seventh-seeded Calhoun Sunday morning, allowing Kennedy to advance in the Nassau County Class AA postseason tournament.
"We work on that play every day in practice," Sherman said. "It's a great feeling."
The first 60 minutes of the match at Calhoun High School were marred by heavy whistles, extensive fouls, including four yellow cards for Kennedy, and a total lack of continuity that plagued both sides. It wasn't until Kennedy senior Andrew Boyer scored in the 68th minute off a broken corner kick that both teams started to play with the intensity and desperation typical of a playoff match.
"I hate playing Calhoun and I love playing Calhoun," Kennedy head coach Jason Elias said. "I hate it because I went here and I teach here. He (Calhoun head coach Jim Cantley) is a great coach and a gentleman. I can only hope to get my program to his level."
Two minutes after Boyer's goal a routine corner kick slipped through Kennedy goalkeeper Tom Anogostou's fingertips and Calhoun's Alex Ras was there to sneak the loose ball into the lower left corner to tie the score at 1-1 and force the extra frames.
"To have the game tied with two minutes to go, then to have the heart to take it in overtime, I can't say enough about my kids," Elias said. "I'm really proud of them and I'm proud of the program."
Cantley was proud of his team's effort and philosophical about the Colts misfortune.
"I've been doing this for a long time," he said. "It's never a good feeling when you lose. The season has to end sometime. Last year, we were in the championship game. This year it ended too soon. Soccer is not fair."
Calhoun senior Andrew Lief took Cantley's words to heart, but they did little to take the sting out of the loss.
"It ended too soon," said Lief, echoing Cantley's sentiment. "It's just the luck of the bounce."
Kennedy faces second seed Great Neck South in a quarterfinal match on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Great Neck South High School. The Cougars lost to the Rebels 4-2 on Oct. 22.