Allen Park Inter-City Baptist and Riverview Gabriel Richard needed overtime on Friday to decide the Division 4, District 54 championship.
Guided by a hat trick from Kaleb Chelli, including two overtime goals, host Inter-City came away with a 4-2 victory over the Pioneers and collected the district trophy on its home field.
With the win, the Chargers (11-6) advanced to face Plymouth Christian on Tuesday in a regional semifinal.
The Pioneers (7-6) tied the game 10 minutes later when Asher Cousino found the back of the net.
Early in the second half, Ethan Lividini scored on a header, after a throw in by Carson Fowler, and put the hosts up 2-1.
The Chargers had multiple opportunities to pad their lead but couldn’t get another ball across the goal line in regulation.
Soon after the Lividini goal, his teammate Micah Wright just missed on a shot. With 21 minutes remaining, Lividini had a header sail just over the crossbar. In addition, Richard keeper Kyle Paoletti stood up to the pressure and played well.
“For us, one of the things that we preach is no chance is guaranteed,” said Inter-City coach Bryce Pegram. “So you have to take advantage of the next one….if we miss we’ve got to create another one. The guys just kept pushing and I’m really happy with that.”
With 15 minutes left in the second half, Krzysztof Szymczuk netted a goal for Richard that evened things up at 2-2 and ultimately forced overtime.
Inter-City regained the lead when Chelli cashed in on a header with exactly 1:58 left in the first overtime period.
Chelli capped off his hat trick late in the second overtime period and all but secured the Chargers’ 4-2 victory and district championship.
“All year long when we have not played well we haven’t won and we didn’t play very well tonight and I was very happy to win.”
For the Pioneers, it closed out what was another winning season, despite playing with a young roster and dealing with some key injuries.
“I love my guys and today that bond that we have grew even more,” said Richard coach Eric Perilla. “I’m really excited for where the future is (headed). We really want to build a powerhouse soccer program at GR, that’s something we’re aiming to do and we’ve just got to keep working at and trusting the process.
The seniors on the 2019 Richard club were Gabe Parks, Tyler Paoletti, Zachary Pousak and Mark Nakad.
For Inter-City, Tuesday’s regional battle with Plymouth Christian is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett. The winner will return Friday to face either Liggett or Adrian Lenawee Christian.