Herndon's Barry Johnson, his shirt covered with dirt and his socks fallen to his shoes, spent most of last night's Virginia AAA boys soccer state championship in the air and on the ground, trying to beat Stonewall Jackson's defense.
But when it came down to the deciding goal, Johnson stood upright, scoring on a penalty kick in the second half to give Herndon a 1-0 victory over Stonewall Jackson before about 7,000 at W.T. Woodson.
In an earlier match, Annandale defeated W.T. Woodson, 2-1, for the girls AAA state title.
"I hurt," said Johnson, a senior who finished with 66 career goals. "The thing that was most frustrating was we couldn't get the ball in the goal. How many times did we have shots, then get offsides called on us?"
Many. But it wasn't always offsides. For the most part it was the fine defensive play by the Stonewall Jackson defense and goalkeeper Eric Golder.
Herndon was on the verge of scoring the entire second half, totally dominating play at midfield and keeping the ball in Stonewall Jackson's end.
It took a tripping penalty at 57:45 on Todd Spangler, however, for Herndon (19-1-1) to beat the Raiders (10-4-3). Spangler knocked down Herndon's Colin O'Connor eight yards from the goal, after a lead pass in which there was a defender between the ball and the goal.
As Johnson set up behind the ball for the penalty kick, Golder took one look at each post and crouched low. Johnson put a left-footed grounder into the right corner of the net.
"I saw Barry shoot it to the same corner last night," said Golder. "I tried to get there, but it got there too fast.
"I think it's tragic. I would have liked it better if they had won in overtime. They have a great team, though. Every time they have the ball, they're dangerous."
Even though Herndon's midfield of O'Connor, Matt Rightmire, Chris Stewart and Greg Griffith kept the ball in the Raiders' end of the field in the second half, the Hornets couldn't score.
In the girls match, all the goals came off penalty kicks, with Annandale getting the last one with 7:18 remaining in the first half for the winning margin against W.T. Woodson.
Last week, the Atoms lost to Woodson (17-3-1) in the Northern Region championship in a shootout after taking a 1-0 lead into the final minutes of regulation (the Northern Region received two berths in the state playoffs this year). Yesterday, Annandale played exceptionally well on defense in the second half and didn't stop attacking on offense.
The Atoms (18-4-1) took a 1-0 lead at 21:29 of the first half. Tracy Arwood was tripped by Shannon Sullivan eight yards from the goal, and Amanda Cromwell took the penalty kick. Her first attempt was stopped by Woodson goalkeeper Kristy Ruestow, but the referee ruled Ruestow moved too soon.
Cromwell got another chance, and she put a right-footed shot into the upper right corner of the net.
Six minutes later, Woodson received its chance at a penalty kick. Sullivan was pushed, and Pam Massey lined up for the free shot. She tied the score at 1 with a right-footed kick into the upper left corner.
The deciding goal came at 32:42 of the first half on a penalty kick by Annandale's Doreen Kelly, but Woodson had its share of chances late in the second half to send the match into overtime.
For the first part of the second period, Annandale gave the Cavaliers little opportunity to get back in the match. The Atoms consistently beat the Cavaliers to the ball and kept it on the offensive end.
But the final 13 minutes had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Fullbacks Kelly and Cathy Reid played key roles in helping Annandale to the title.
At 75:00, Woodson's Cindi Kunihiro got a pass from Pam Massey on the right side and was cut off by Reid. The referee, however, ruled Reid had pushed and gave the Cavaliers an indirect kick.
On the indirect kick from five yards away, Kunihiro tapped the ball to Jennifer Smith, who just missed to the left of the goal.
Woodson's best chance came with three minutes to play. Kunihiro and Annandale goalkeeper Kathi Rayburn, who played a solid match, collided in front of the goal and the ball rolled behind Rayburn. But the ball was alertly cleared by Reid to preserve the Atoms' victory.