ALTOONA — With a berth in the District 6 Class AA boys’ soccer championship on the line, Philipsburg-Osceola coach Shawn Inlow didn’t mind putting the game on his son Wyatt’s foot.
And, Wyatt delivered, just like he has all season.
Wyatt Inlow booted in a penalty kick with 3:55 left in the first sudden-death overtime as the Mounties knocked off Bellefonte 2-1. P-O (9-8-1) will face Tyrone in Thursday’s title game.
Wyatt Inlow’s score ended a long night of soccer between two familiar foes. The teams have met six times over the past two seasons, with P-O winning in both district playoff tilts including last year’s title game.
Second-seeded Bellefonte held a 1-0-1 edge against the Mounties coming into Tuesday’s semifinal.
The difference Tuesday was Austin Krise, an athletic sophomore whose speed runs led to both P-O goals.
Both Bellefonte’s Matt Feldman and P-O’s Mitchell Winters were outstanding in goal all night and both made huge saves in the overtime period before Krise got loose on a breakaway. The Red Raider defense ran Krise down, but took him down in the penalty area prompting a penalty kick.
Wyatt Inlow calmly strode up to take the penalty kick and gave Feldman no chance. He right-footed it into the low left corner to set off a P-O celebration.
“I wasn’t really thinking anything,” said Wyatt, who is a perfect 5-for-5 on the season from the penalty spot. “ I just go up and kick it. There was a little pressure because this is a big game, but we practice penalty kicks a lot and I’m pretty good at it.”
Inlow’s goal capped a frustrating night for the Red Raiders (12-6-1), who had more scoring chances only to be thwarted by Winters and the P-O defense.
“We had a lot of good opportunities tonight,” said Bellefonte coach Scott Martz, whose team missed several chances from close in and a breakaway in the first half. “I think that we outplayed them, but they finished the first one.”
The contest remained deadlocked through the first 62 minutes until Krise took advantage of a defensive lapse and pounced on a loose ball. He muscled his way past a defender and beat Feldman to the left corner to make it 1-0.
“We knew that was their gameplan,” Martz said. “They get the ball to midfield and chip him long. I thought we did a decent job on marking him, but he did get away on that one goal.”
P-O almost extended the lead. Hunter Honan took a blast from directly in front of the Bellefonte goal that Feldman deflected high and off the post.
“I thought whoever scored first that was going to be it,” Martz admitted.
Bellefonte tied it up thanks to an outstanding individual effort. Tyler Rudloff corralled a ball from about 20 yards in front of the right side of the P-O goal. He then booted with his right foot, imparting a screwball-like English that found the top left corner of the net.
“That was sick,” Shawn Inlow said.
It took “sick” plays to beat both Winters and Feldman. P-O did an outstanding job keeping Bellefonte’s long throw-ins from Andrew Stover from leading to scores. Stover’s throw-ins led to two goals in the Raiders’ 2-1 win over earlier this season.
“Winters made some beautiful saves on those,” Martz said.
P-O, the tournament’s sixth seed, has now pulled a pair of upsets.
“We’ve knocked out the No. 3 and we’ve knocked out the No. 2,” Shawn Inlow said. “The natural progression is our dear, dear friends from Tyrone. Last year, they had a chance to put us out. This year, they’re the top dogs. There could not be a better final Thursday night. That team plays a good game of soccer.”