With 42 seconds left, Hudson Brunk stood ready, waiting at the top of the box.
The Celtic senior had taken plenty of penalty shots during the regular season, but not like this one. Not one so late in a tied game as when he lined up against Clackamas goalkeeper Bryson Cabine in the first round of the OSAA state championships on Saturday.
He had to wait a bit longer than normal as officials worked to get the clock right, but in the end, the result was like most of the season.
“I got into my own head a little bit,” Brunk said. “Usually I’m more composed so I put it in the lower corners, but I just smashed it. But it ended up going in, that’s what matters.”
It was Brunk’s second goal of the game, 28th of the season, and it would send No. 5 McNary on to the second round with a 3-2 victory.
But not without a little bit of controversy.
It was a close, and debated, handball from Clackamas in the box that awarded McNary the penalty kick. And in such a close and highly contested postseason matchup, the objections from the Clackamas crowd were understandably loud.
The Crusaders had controlled the first half, putting the Celtics on their heels after a goal less than five minutes in.
“This game changes when you score an early goal,” head coach Miguel Camarena said. “They scored early, we weren’t ready for that.”
While in the lead, Clackamas seemed to control the pace of play, even when McNary was on the attack.
Passing lanes were clogged, and the Celtics were bottled up, unable to get out on the run, and unable to create scoring chances.
Even with a 3-1 advantage in shots on goal at halftime, it felt like the Celtics were pressing, perhaps rushing a bit at the start of their postseason run.
“That was a choke for us,” Camarena said. “We allowed the goal and it took us a little while to get in rhythm again.”
But they came out to start the second half looking far more comfortable, and with an adjusted formation, moving to three in the back.
Less than two minutes in, Brunk made his way through a group of Clackamas defenders, and shot just wide of the net.
Four minutes later, freshman Ryder Allen didn’t miss. Allen tied the game up for McNary with a rebound goal after Cabine laid out to stop a shot from Brunk, and he was unable to recover in time for Allen’s shot.
“It felt amazing, especially being the first goal for our team, starting the momentum,” Allen said.
And the momentum came.
Brunk gave the Celtics the lead seven minutes later after a Clackamas defender couldn’t control and clear the ball out from in front of their goal.
With 11 minutes to play, Clackamas tied the match at 2, eventually setting up Brunk for the game winner on the PK.
It was perhaps the most competitive game the Celtics have had, after going a historic 13-0 in the regular season. But they’ll face a different level of competition in the postseason.
“I’m happy they were able to come back twice,” Camarean said. “That’s the difference between being a decent team and a really good team.”
Camarena and the Celtics now prepare for the No. 12 Gresham Gophers to come to McNary on Tuesday for the second round.
Gresham (11-2-2, 6-1) won the Mt. Hood Conference, and defeated McMinnville 2-0 in the first round on Saturday.
Tuesday’s second round match is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.